The dinner had all the elements required for a special memory. There was a connection between two in our group and the chef. The people at the table represented old friends, good friends, and new friends. We shared enough in our collective history to bind us together, yet the diversity created an amazing window for conversation, stories, and questions. Even as it started I knew I would remember the evening for a long time to come.
As the dinner unfolded, I remembered my first trip to the restaurant. It was a long time ago, a time that I do not often reflect on. As I took the time to pay attention to several large paintings that were still hanging, my mind took me to places that gave me hope and caused me to pause. I was not sure where the reflection was going, because candidly there was as much pain in what I was remembering as there was good.
A brief blinding flash interrupted my mental walk on the dark side. I looked to my left and realized I was unknowingly a witness to a fantastic sunset. The sky was filled with shades of gold and wonderful streaks that highlighted the bridge and sailboats in the Marina. I quickly excused myself with an apology and stepped towards the window to take in the scene without distractions.
As I used the only camera available, I found myself overwhelmed with reminders of the way Divinity has and continues to touch my life. Infused in the memories were examples of “snow-crown the peaks with splendor, scatter rose petals down your paths,” (Psalm 65.11) and now a golden sunset. In the highs and lows, Divinity has been present. Looking back, each memory could be seen as an opportunity to represent the values I hold close to my heart – compassion, unconditional acceptance, and community.
I clicked my iPhone camera button and turned back to the dinner at hand. Life is found in the moment at hand, shaped and informed by the memories we carry. In each, we can be hope’s messenger.