I remember sounds.
The tape-deck that is my brain seems to record them. Sometimes I like to roam the archives, replaying the tracks in my life like a playlist of favorites.
One of the first I remember is from being a kid. I remember waking up on school mornings and just lying in bed and hearing the sound of my mom taking out dishes for breakfast. I loved that sound. It was like a musical alarm clock announcing that everything about the day was normal and safe and that there was someone out there thinking about me long before I even woke up. Even as I got older, I used to love coming home from college just to hear the morning symphony of silverware.
Some of my favorite tracks come from my wife and kids. The "I will" said just to me. The beautiful horrible gasps of pain that preceded those first sweet cries from my two biological kids. The sound of the African rain against the roof of a beat-up taxi as we drove back from picking up my two adopted kids from their orphanage. You won't find those sounds on iTunes, but I can hear them more clearly than any song on my iPhone.
Lately I've got a new favorite. And this one I bet you've heard too. It's not a catchy tune – but I could listen to it every day and not get tired of it.
It's the sound of the garage door.
I think I first noticed it this summer. My wife took my kids on a trip for a couple days and I had to stay home and work. I'm generally not a worrying type of guy, but for some reason that trip I was keenly aware of how my life had the potential to be completely turned upside down in a moment. A forgotten turn signal, a bartender that doesn't take away some guy's keys - and in the blink of an eye - the soundtrack of my life could get a lot more silent.
So I'm waiting on the day they're coming home and it's so amazingly quiet in the house. And then suddenly, piercing that silence is that sound I've heard a million times before that took on fresh meaning.
The garage door.
Everyone's home. Everything's normal. Everyone's safe.
Like a new remake of an old favorite.
So now it's nearly February and sometime in this next month you'll probably buy some flowers or some chocolate or a new tie for someone that's important to you. And while it's great to to have a day that makes us stop and remember and express love to those we care about – we gotta make sure that happens a lot more than on Valentine's Day. And for me - I’m going to try and remind myself daily – to say what needs to be said, to cherish the moments, to thank God for the gifts.
And now I've got a daily audio reminder.
My favorite sound.