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You can either lean into the loss or you can lean into the gain

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

God is more valuable than a record player.

Though I tend not to become attached to inanimate objects, there are a few I have known over the years that seemingly hold stories and emotions, giving them life they otherwise would not have. It is as if they are a physical home to my memories and when touched, transport me to a bygone place with all five senses engaged and enlivened. My attachment to these objects is as if without them, I think these nostalgic experiences would also be gone, leaving me with a loss of remembrance.

Something with this perceived power is difficult to lose. My parents’ record player is one of these objects.

Some evenings after supper, my mom would pull out one of her favorite records and carefully place it on the family record player. The living room curtains would have already been drawn, with the yellow-hued lamplight bringing dusk inside to the orange sofa and knotty pine walls. Patsy Cline would begin to sing Walkin’ After Midnight, and my mama would join in, freely sharing her soul-soothing voice, and holding out her hand to me for a dance.

Twirling around, her smile a salve for the day’s hurts, my heart was at its best. I felt like a prized possession in the arms of my prized possession; there was nothing better in my world than to be held by her. Together had always been my favorite place and even now, after almost ten years of missing her touch, I can still close my eyes and remember the texture of her hair as my heart reaches around to hug her.

My parent’s collection of records, along with their record player, have been on hold for me to pick up the next time I am in town. A friend of theirs was going to pass them on to someone else, but I staked claim. They hold too many good memories for me—the transporting kind of memories that are hard to come by—so I have intended to retrieve them from her, bringing them home to share with my child, as my mother shared with me.

The above knowledge hit me sharply when I was at a friend’s home this evening for dinner. She excitedly showed off an old record player, though fresh to her space, and several boxes of records she had been given earlier that day. People joined in her celebration of the new addition and anxiously looked through the boxes, reminiscing at history, as told through song. Unexpectedly, I felt a pain in my chest rather than excitement or anticipation. The hurt ached, and I began floating on it down a river of nostalgia and impending loss.

You see, it is highly unlikely that I will see my parents’ friend again, so I will never take ownership of this beloved heirloom. The loss of her is its own weighted topic—as an existing member of my past cult group, she will likely be one of my losses in launching Naomi Wright Ministries. An exchange made. Her for Christ. Her for the true me. And she will take the music with her.

It is in these moments that I must assert what I know, stating it aloud and choosing my mind’s focus. I can lean into the loss, or I can lean into the gain, acknowledging the sadness yet resolving to elevate the good above it, where it belongs. I have the opportunity to lock into this truth:

God is more valuable than a record player.

He is more valuable than a tangible memory. My relationship with him is more important than pulling out that same Patsy Cline record, placing it on that same record player, and dancing with my son, as lovely and sweet as that moment would be.

The truth is: there are other records and other record players to make them go ‘round.

And my memories are not lost along with the object. Memories, the intangible blessings and curses they are, cannot really be kept from me.

Even if they could be.

God is more valuable.

Candid Conversation:

  1. Do you have an object in your life that tells a story?

  2. If so, what is the object and how would you describe it?

  3. What memories and emotions does it hold for you?

  4. For what purpose would you be willing to part with it, if ever need be?

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