Join the Dots

“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I distinctly remember a conversation with a much younger Zeke in which I was trying to explain which friends I was referring to. It went something like this;

Me: “They live in London. We went to their flat when Anna went to hospital. The Mum has dark curly hair. They have three children.”
Zeke: “Huh…”
[cue brainwave on my part] 
Me: “They had the Dumbo case?”
Zeke: “OH!”

Whereas I might join the dots that connect my past life experiences by referring to people, or places or appearances, for Zeke (at that time) he joined the dots entirely by Disney DVD case ownership. If you happened to be the proud owner of a VHS Disney classics case (a very rare find) you became instantly unforgettable.

We all join the dots in different ways.

If you are a natural optimist you might join together the moments in which everything has gone right, and these collectively form the shape of your memory. For those of us with a more melancholic disposition the more imprinted memories might be of when we have fallen short and thus a different imagination of the past takes shape.

To remember means literally to re-member. To take the disparate limbs of our memories and reconstruct a coherent body, and to do so in a way in which makes sense (to us at least). 

As Christians we bring not just our own individual memories (the painful and the haunting, the joy-filled and the mortifying) to this re-membering exercise but we are also invited to fit these memories within a far bigger story, a communal memory.

In my house right  now there is gleeful anticipation that we are about to win the league. We haven’t won since 1990 but, as I write we have good management, a strong team and, crucially, a 23 point lead.

Just as my 11 yr old cheerfully joins with sports fans everywhere to claim for himself memories that precede his birth so I find that my fractured memories, my ups and downs sit within a much larger communal memory that gives them coherence.

As we join the dots today re-membering the therapy appointments, the disasters, the seizures, the triumphs, the breakthroughs and the slog we join the song of saints from millennia past. In Christ, their ‘we’ becomes ours.

“He turned the sea in to dry land
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.

Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.”

Psalm 66:6-12

4 thoughts on “Join the Dots

  1. Beautifully expressed, Rachel, as ever! You have SUCH a tender insightful, Godly- wise soul and heart! Thank you for sharing from it! Much love to you all xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for finding space in you day to write. Have just finished ‘ The life you never expected’ and just wanted to find you ( as it were!) to say so many thank you’s! Thank you so so much to yourself and Andrew for writing it. We are on a journey at the moment of working out how differently my ten year old process the world and we think he is sprinkled with ADHD and aspergus. And we suspect that his younger sister and brother are somewhere on this spectrum too. It has felt a lot to come to terms to; especially as we have lived the last decade thinking we were just bad parents! This book came at just the right time; thank you. I think we know a lot of the same people ( for instance Emma D who featured in your book.) So perhaps I will be fortunate enough to thank you in person at some point. Thanks again. Jenny H


    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Jenny, I’m so glad the book has been timely for your guys. I hope these next few months are as smooth as possible for you all. Lockdown must be an additional challenge for your family! I hope we get a chance to meet in person at some point, Emma is a gem… x


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