Time machines do not exist. Not in the tangibility of reality. But they certainly do exist in our hearts and minds, and imagination is tangible. It is real. If you don’t believe me, think for a moment of that departed loved one. Think of the love that was lost. Think of the dream that was never fulfilled. The unachieved goal. The misspent moment. If you think about it long enough, you will feel it. You will feel it not in a superficial way, but in a deep way. Hearts have a reality all their own. So do memories.
If you want to travel through time, close your eyes. Imagine a time now past. The scent of childhood. The music of youth. Those emotions are as real as anything anyone is feeling anywhere in the world. Your memories are important. Every emotion connected with every memory is equally as important. Allow yourself to feel. It is ok to feel angry. If you were every mistreated, dismissed, ignored, passed over. It is ok to feel sad. To weep. If you ever lost. If you ever felt alone. Cry deeply and mourn what once was, or what never was. Feel joy at the thought of what still might be.
Love. Even when it is not returned. Love. Love is enough.
Early memories of family and church conflate in my mind. Sometimes it is difficult to know the difference. I board the time machine of memory and emotion. I remember being held in the arms of my older cousins at the end of the church services in our small rural Pentecostal church. I remember feeling… afraid. Fear is a powerful emotion that creates profound memories. I remember being afraid of the rapture. I remember hearing a trumpet blow, lights being turned off, people missing. I remained. I remember thinking what remaining meant. I remember seeing “Uzza” fall over dead because he attempted to steady the Ark of the Covenant. I remember hearing that God killed everyone and saved Noah, but then hearing that Noah did some sketchy things after departing the Ark. Why did God kill everyone and save Noah? Seems he was just as guilty as others who were drowned in the waters of the flood. I remember hearing that God demanded that Abraham offer his son Isaac on an altar, intervening at only the last moment. If God knows all things how did he not know what Abraham would do? If God intended to save Isaac all along and was only using this as foreshadowing of what was to come, then why put Abraham and Isaac through such emotional distress.
The machine I’m traveling on doesn’t have a theological guide, only an emotional one.
My cousin was a kind friend in those early fearful years. She would often allow me to stay with her and her family on the weekends. I remember expressing my fear of the rapture to her one night. Instead of judgment, or a reinforcement of my fears, she told me of God’s grace. I remember hearing this for the first time. I can’t say all of my fears disappeared. But I did feel better hearing about love. Love does indeed cast out fear, eventually.
My time machine doesn’t give an adequate picture of God. It only gives me a picture of how other perceptions of God were communicated to me at the time. Perceptions that were perpetuated to them and passed forward. Neither does my time machine give me a true picture of God.
But Jesus does.
I don’t remember Him. Only those in the past must be remembered. Those who are present only have to be experienced. What a friend I have in Jesus. This is my memory and experience.