Thursday, February 17, 2011

There's Nothing You Can Do

That lump in your throat and pit in your stomach. You know the feeling, don’t you? The feeling that you’re going to cringe over an answer that you don’t want to hear. For me, it was the realization that hours and months of work of transferring audio of my kids as toddlers had been lost forever.

I spent so much time. I was so proud of myself for thinking of a way to savor the precious moments caught on cassette. Then, in an instant, I realized a mistake in transferring files over to a new computer might have erased and eradicated all of that.

I felt sick to my stomach.

I still had the audio on cassettes, but with a home that didn’t really carry cassette players anymore – nor the time to re-run and re-play all those tapes and again only edit the pieces I wanted to save and transfer to a computer….well….the result was the same. Feeling heartsick.

I really felt like crying.

But what can you do? The damage is done. You can’t go back and fix that mistake. You just can’t.

As I was sitting in my computer chair letting it all sink in, I realized how people must feel when their homes burn down or when things are stolen. It’s not the item so much as the memory that you hold close. The memory that is attached to the item. In the case of photos, videos, and audio – well, it’s even more personal.

Then another thought flashed through my heart and mind. Maybe it wasn’t even my own thought. Maybe it was the Lord whispering to me. It was that when it all comes down to it, it’s still not material things that matter the most. You can’t take them to heaven with you.

Material things – no matter how personal, touching, and sacred – are still just material things. No one can ever delete the memories in my heart, soul, and mind. No one can replace the mood or the feelings that reside within me; those things that I carry with me every day of my life.

Yes, it’s sad when we lose things that mean so much to us. But it’s also a good reminder that time and life can’t be bought or replaced. A moment is a moment. Once spent it is gone forever. We might be able to hang onto it for awhile via photo, audio, or video – but we still can’t replay the scene in a different way. It’s done.

I think God wants us to invest in those moments. In those people. I think He wants us to hold on a little more loosely to the material things we treasure so tightly. Not because He doesn’t care what matters to us. I think He realizes we are human and understands that we will have special places in our hearts for things. But because those “things” shouldn’t replace the “here” and “now.” They shouldn’t replace the people that are in the room with us today.

We can’t live in the past but we can live in the moment and make the most of it.

I am still feeling really bummed about the loss of my audio recordings. But given a little time, I’ll move on for there is nothing I can do about it. I will carry those sayings with me always and if some are forgotten in time…then I’ll simply replace them in my heart with new ones. For my loved ones surround me – and that’s what is most important.

*Note: A few days after I wrote this – my husband found a backup copy with the lost audio on it. I was so thankful! But what a lesson God taught me in the process.


Anonymous said...

So glad that there was a backup! I know that feeling and it is awful for sure. When a memory is attached to an item it makes it 10x as hard to lose it. But at least we have those memories tucked away and, as you said, material things will fade.

Susan Shipe said...

A long time ago, I had a cassette tape of my son's voice at maybe 2 yrs old on Christmas morning. I was interviewing him about what he got from Santa - his voice was just precious and I treasured it. Then he and his friend were recording, of all things, AC/DC, and they needed another tape. Guess what they used? You got it. I was sick to my stomach. Gone forever. But, you are right - I still have the memory and praise the Lord I still have my son (soon to be 40!!!). Thanks for sharing your story and so glad it turned out well.