Diana Delacruz

white brick lighthouse on a tiny islet, tree line and cloudy sky in background, remembering the past, remember who we were Memorial Day

Remembering Who We Were

Remembering who we were—the good, the bad, and even the ugly of our past—is a key to facing the future with holy confidence and joy. Keeping in mind the depths—and heights—I’ve come from keeps me focused in the right direction.

Doesn’t every family have their legends? Their black sheep and closet skeletons, their crazy ancestors and whispered tales? My family in Maine sure does. 

But does it matter if we forget? Sometimes very much. Remembering who we were can provide a cure for the extremes of floundering in depression and despair or boasting about our exploits.

Remembering the Good

It’s a healthy habit to remember the past, the men and women I came from. What lessons can I draw from the schoolmarm grandmother…or the one who spoke English with an accent? From the wanderings of Pierre, the hatmaker’s apprentice who fled war- and plague-ridden France to the New World? From the intrepid Puritans who built New England out of nothing but stones and steadfastness? Similarly, I can learn from the heroes—and even anti-heroes—of the country I live in.

The climax of my novel, Legacy of the Linnebrink Light, highlights the story of a young man whose moral courage turned around an entire island. While Kurt’s neighbors immortalized his brief candle of life in a quasi-cultural festival, they soon forgot the profound meaning of what he had done for them. It took an outsider, Cristina, to remind people of the history behind the revelry.

How can we change the future if we don’t remember our past? Like those islanders, let’s start to make a habit of celebrating a permanent Memorial in our hearts, not just an inspirational holiday. 

“You are not defined by your past. You are prepared by your past.” –Joel Osteen

Remembering the Bad

This isn’t a bleeding-heart exercise to recount my own sins and failures, nor to heap blame on those of others, but sometimes we have to face the dark side to find the light. Because remembering who we were means recognizing, with humility, what’s wrong so that we can put it right.

In Linnebrink Light

  • Kurt’s descendant, Raúl, had to admit how far he’d fallen before he could climb out of the pit.
  • Raúl’s son, Leonel, had to appreciate the good in his heritage before he could effectively combat the evil.
  • Cristina, the teacher, had to see her own need to learn before she could save the world.

My Droplet Gift #9: I may not be all I should be, but I thank God I’m not what I used to be. As someone has said, “God loves us just the way we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way.”

Remembering the Ugly

In my novel, Swan Pose, Marcos Serrano recounts to a baffled Coni Belmar something of his past. “My life story’s in the Bible—I’m the prodigal son…I walked away into the darkness and spent a couple of long years wallowing in guilt and doubt and emptiness. After some hard knocks…a light came on in my heart and I remembered—I’m redeemed. Jesus bought my life and I belong to Him.”

Both Marcos and Coni carried a lot of baggage. Both knew you don’t have to be old to have a grim past. But remembering where he’d come from kept Marcos on target.

And though Coni labeled herself an ugly duckling, she too came to recognize that God “makes all things beautiful in His time” (Eccl. 3:11). That’s redemption. Remembering who we were can change who we become.

Lord, don’t take me home… until I remember daily who I was and rejoice that I’m one of the redeemed.

Lest we forget…

7 thoughts on “Remembering Who We Were”

  1. Excellent post and excellent point. Steve is always saying that besides him and his sister and maybe a niece or two, no one remembers his dad or brother who, in their time, made an impact. Of course, we’ll never really know the extent of the influence their lives, or even ours, for that matter.
    Keep these posts coming!

    1. Diana Delacruz

      As a cousin of mine once said, “You may never know this side of heaven all that you’ve accomplished.” So true. My husband sometimes mentions the “finger in a glass” analogy, but surely the God who tracks our tears knows about water displacement!

  2. Colleen Phillips

    Oh….I’d never heard the “finger in a class” analogy before. But yes, absolutely, God knows about water displacement!!

  3. Curtis Steward

    It is hard to remember that the love of God that does not leave us the way we are is the same love that leads us through the hard times that transform us into the image of Christ

    1. Diana Delacruz

      So true! Our journey DOES make us who we are. God bless you, Kathleen, along the road to Glory!

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