I was with a friend today, and I got to see the house where she grew up. Not just the house where she grew up, but the house more or less as she had grown up in it. Almost nothing was changed -- furniture, appliances, paint on the walls, toys in the basement. It was like stepping back in time.
I've wondered what that would be like, to be able to step back to a place where I was as a girl. What if I could have recreated for me the exact geography of my memories? The place. The things. The people.
My friend's parents were there. People can't be re-upholstered like furniture. They can't be preserved like photos or antiques. They age. My friends parents are aged.
Even if my place and things could be regathered, my grandparents, my mother, would still be dead. My father has grown older. So have I. The little girl I was is gone.
My memories are flawed.
The way I remember -- the way I want it to have been -- is not the way that it was. I want to look back on the past through my child eyes, like looking through a magic mirror.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul says,
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." (chapter 13, verses 11 and 12)
The price of living with what I want to have been rather than what was and is is that I cannot know fully.
I avert my eyes, because I am afraid I won't like what I will see: My failures. My weakness. The ways I hurt the people I love. The ways the people I have loved hurt me.
But when I see face to face, my eyes looking into His, I can know fully. As I have been fully known, then and now.