Another year has come and gone, and with its passing there remains only memories.
If we are typical, some of our memories of this past year are of good times and pleasant experiences, while others are not so happy, and perhaps there are some things we would just as soon forget.But whatever our memories are, they are logged in the pages of the book of our lives and have become part of us.
Now the calendar page turns to a new year and the creation of more memories. What will our memories be like 12 months from now? Good, bad, or indifferent, they are waiting for us to create them.
No one approaches a new year cognizant of everything that will take place. We meet life each new day and face its ongoing uncertainties with faith that somehow we can handle whatever comes.
But there are certain memories that we can actually create and remember with fondness, if we have the will to do so.
Will we remember that we began and closed each day with prayer? If daily personal prayer isn't part of our lives, we can certainly make it so. Prayer is one of the most powerful forces in life. It enables us to invite God to be with us in the walks and talks of each day.
Will we remember that we read the scriptures daily? Our lives are not really that much different from those who have lived before us. As we read of God's dealings with them, as recorded in the scriptures, we can truly learn the correct principles of life and use them to manage our lives today. No day should pass without the memory of some scriptural involvement.
Will we remember that we paid a full tithing during the year? No one is guaranteed financial stability in these challenging times. Fortunes ebb and flow. But there is an absolute certainty given us that if we have faithfully paid our tithes and offerings we will always get by. Will our memory of attendance at the annual tithing settlement time be a happy one?
Will we remember that we faithfully discharged our duties as a home teacher or a visiting teacher? We are called to be with and strengthen each other as brothers and sisters in the gospel. Are we creating pleasant memories in the minds of those we visit so that they are happy to have us come each month? Are we remembering to apply gospel principles to their individual needs? Are we encouraging them or assisting them in their times of need? It is not difficult to be a memorable home teacher or visiting teacher.
Will we remember that we magnified our callings during the year? We are called to serve in positions in the Church so that we may lead, edify, or instruct others. Are we looking for ways to do better in our callings so long as we hold them? Are we serving in such a way that our memories of the call will be worthy ones once we have been released? Service well given is a treasured memory.
Will we remember that we were good neighbors during the year? In today's fast-paced world some do not even have time to know those amongst whom they live. This is sad because we will never know what need we might have filled or good we might have done had we extended our friendship and love to others. We can create memories of pleasant times together with those amongst whom we live if we are cordial and understanding of them. Perhaps we could create a neighborhood tradition or event and make happy memories for everyone involved.
Will we remember that we spoke kind words during the year? It is easy to be short-tempered in today's world. Criticism and negative speaking seem the rule rather than the exception anymore. Political leaders complain about each other. Business people sometimes belittle their competition. Sometimes even marriage partners speak harshly against each other. Of concern, also, is the foul language used in so much of the written or visual media. Such verbiage degrades and demeans and easily becomes habitual. Profanity and vulgarity are not pleasant things to remember. Kind words truly are sweet tones of the heart and are remembered when shared with others.
The new year ahead will bring some sorrows, some disappointments, some frustrations, and some tragedies that we cannot foresee on the first page of the year. But if we begin the year determined to create as many pleasant and positive memories as we can we will be able to look back a year from now and say that we are better off than we were 12 months ago.
We should store up in our memory banks a new year of progress and growth and be thankful for the memories we have created.