June 20, 2011 
Minds can be like jukeboxes. Drop in the correct amount of coins; punch in the number selection; and watch the record drop into the slot and begin playing. The majority of the time a jukebox contains songs of the past known as “The oldies but goodies.” Songs that make you reminisce of people or situations from years gone by. Or possibly a song that seems to transfer you back in time and places you right back in the moment.
That happened to me this weekend. On Facebook, since it was Father’s Day, many posted pictures of their fathers. While scrolling down I came across a picture that affected me. It was an AWWWW moment.  Immediately I was transferred back to being 10 years old and sitting in the living room where that certain picture was proudly displayed. Although I never remember meeting that Dad, because he had passed away when I was young, he definitely lived on in his family. His wife grieved for him for years and years. His son and daughter were the spitting image of him!
Similar to a jukebox, that picture was like dropping a coin in the slot, as I watched the record drop into place. It pulled a memory from my mind and began playing. The funny thing is, the memory it triggered was not always pleasant. You see, we spent hours on a weekly basis in this home. My Mom and that wife/mother were the best of friends, so while they sat at the kitchen table drinking iced tea, the kids “had to go play!’   Because the daughter was a few years older (which seemed like 15 years at the time) we had to play with the son who was just one year older.
He took a liking to picking on my sister and I, teasing us, and mostly pulling my hair! It seemed like he experienced pure enjoyment for making us “tattle tell” on him. I can still hear his mother yell from the kitchen, “David Ray, leave those girls alone!” Do you think he listened? I can still see that mischievous grin on his face with his sense of accomplishment! But as the years went by, he became my big brother. He was in essence the only “boy” around while growing up. He passed away years back and I couldn’t attend his funeral. I loved him dearly and it grieved me deeply. I now regret not attending, but at the time I couldn’t see his three gorgeous daughters and the son that was his spitting image without turning into a blubbering idiot.  
As an outsider looking in, that family left more of an impression on my young life than any other. The memories continue…..watching Lynne pull herself up by the boot straps and care for her family; gazing often upon the mound of clean laundry left unfolded in her bedroom; the ironing board always left up; the pigeon coup in the back yard; and feeling like Princess Debbie’s bedroom was sacred ground. But mostly I remember the awe in seeing the love and respect they had for each other.
Amazing what a picture can bring back isn’t it? This story about a jukebox came about as I drove down the road early this morning. I saw a car that once again like putting a coin in the slot, took me back. The first car my Dad ever let me drive was a 1966 Lincoln Continental painted fluorescent blue! He made sure I was in a semi-tank and that with that color EVERYONE would see me coming. It was a good thing too, because in my first year of driving, I was involved in 6 little mishaps. Each mishap was my fault. I got a ticket in the first week of driving!
But what that memory branched off to is my best friend Mary, and the car she drove. She had the smallest Honda on the planet. We would leave my tank at her house and drive her Honda everywhere. I think it got 150 miles to the gallon. Seems ridiculous now that we were even concerned about the price of gas since it was 19 cents a gallon! We would turn the radio up full blast, get the thing on two wheels and have the time of our lives on our way to the beach! Her little Honda back then, makes the Mini Cooper of today look like a station wagon! Such happy carefree times we enjoyed.
Contemplating this jukebox story, there a good memories and bad memories that we have stored in our minds. But how we respond today to those old memories of the past is what is important. Certain hurtful or damaging memories we will NEVER forget and that is okay. The phrase “Forgive and Forget” is a misconception. We CAN forgive things in our past, but we may never forget them. Forgiveness is not contingent on forgetting. No way.
Today, I am making a decision. I am choosing to change my perception on the unpleasant records that get played in the jukebox of my mind. Instead of reverting to regret, hurt, vengeance, anger, judgment or inadequacy, I choose to react differently. As an alternative to yelling at the store clerk, kicking the dog, screaming at the kids; out of response to an old memory, I truly want my reaction to be otherwise. People should not have to suffer because of issues left unresolved in me.  Therefore, the records are getting a thorough assessment, so that my feedback is pleasant. “So that people may see and know, may consider and understand that the hand of the Lord has done this.” Isaiah 41:20a. Actually at the core of it all, I want people to see Jesus in me.