I have a big black box. For as long as I can remember I have put all of the stuff I want to keep safe in it. It is a rough old box, but it has done the job well. (I have had it over 25 years. It was an army footlocker in a previous life.) This past week I went and dug it out of the storage shed for a reminder of what it contained. There were many things I had forgotten.

I have over 25 years of memories in that box. Starting from awards I won in 1983 all the way up through notes I have kept from my wife. It was very interesting to pull it all out and examine it. I spread the contents out all over my desk and began to remember. Here are a few things I discovered:

1. At one point in my life I was a straight A student. Even made the Junior Honor Society. You would never be able to tell by my grades in high school. As soon as I hit the 8th grade that high GPA was out the window. Still working on figuring out what happened there.

2.  When I got married back in 1999 I still stored some of my stuff at my parents house. Part of the storage room many of my boxes were got flooded. I remember losing a lot of keep sakes. (Should have had them in the black box!) I ran across something I was able to salvage: my high school diploma. It got messed up pretty bad. I remember being upset that it was nearly ruined. Looking back, I was upset over nearly nothing. It is a fine piece of paper, but it doesn’t tell me who I am or what I can do. It was just my parole paperwork that let me out into the real world. Who I am has been defined since then. And is still being defined.

3. There are many people I wish I hadn’t lost contact with. Many people that had a lasting impact on my life that have drifted away. At the least, I am going to contact many of them to express thanks for what they meant to me at that time in my life. I have been blessed with good friends in my life. I am thankful for that.

4. Creativity has been in my blood for a long time. I won my first talent show (for lip syncing…shhh) back in 1984. I was in the special music class in 5th grade. In the dance club in 6th grade. In Show Choir in the 8th grade, 10th – 12th grades, and for my first year of college. I was a music major for the first two years of college. A music minister for 2 years. I have played the guitar for 14 years now. The piano for 17. I am not as good as I should be at all of it after all this time, but I have never been able to shake it. It is a part of who I am. Now, the question is what do I do with it? I am still working on that one.

5. I have been writing stuff for almost 20 years. I have looked back through much of what I wrote back thing. In a word? Yuk. A lot of it was really bad, but some of it was not as bad as the rest. Progressively it has gotten better over the years. Nice to know that the work in progress really is progressing.

There are other stops I made on the memory journey. I will save those for another time. I have walked away with a snapshot of myself. I see myself in the shadows of that big black box. I see who I was. I see who I am. I catch glimpses of what is to be. It is good to remember. It can help us move forward. I know it is helping me.

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