“It made us think, that these were days we would remember” (Greg, ‘A Brief Glimpse’)
Memories are never just free-floating. They have backdrops. They happen in place and time. Memories of people take place in the context of other people. Some memories stand out more than others, are more defining than others. Because they helped define you. And there are some memories you don’t ever want to stop remembering. It’s these memories you want to take with you into the future. To pass on to future generations. Because there’s just so much goodness there to be had.
When my kids are older, I want to do this. I want to take them down Nowra-way in winter to a little hidden-amongst-the-trees place called ‘Treestump,’ a campsite by the Shoalhaven river, or to the Gerringong-Gerroa coastline in Summer, where the hills are impossibly green, the sea impossibly blue. And at night, when the stars are clear, and the only sounds are those of the birds, the cicadas, the leaves in the breeze, and our laughter, I want to tell them how my Brother Greg, their uncle, so many peoples’ friend, used to love these places. And how I did too. And how it was here that I, that we, discovered the Lord.
Because when I remember my brother Greg I also remember this:
The soaring flames of a campfire so high it nearly touches the trees above. The melodic raw sound of an acoustic guitar, and our unguarded voices recalling truths learnt. A bus full of kids returning from the caves, covered in dirt. A bus full of kids on the way to the Whitsunday Islands, not yet realising it doesn’t get much better or easy than this.
I remember the songs we sang, and the games we played. I remember dancing on a boat in Sydney Harbour, and dancing in the camp hall after dinner.
I remember the pure white sand of Whitehaven beach. And the pure white light of clarity of those times.
And sure, it wasn’t perfect. We were teenagers. Young adults. Full of angst and dreams and prejudice.
But He met us there. I know He did. I saw it in the light in my brother Greg’s clear blue eyes. Not just in the highs of those times, but in the lows too. Behind the scenes, behind the walls of our house.
My brother Greg lived the faith he had found. I am so grateful to have shared those days with him and with so so many others. Those glorious, defining, golden days.
Storms came later, but these came first.
As the song we used to play way back then said, These are days that you’ll remember. Indeed these are days we do well to remember.
* The song I refer to here is “These are Days” by 10 000 Maniacs