누구에게나 첫 기억은 소중합니다. 웨딩드레스를 입은 신부의 손을 건 네받던 순간의 떨림이 그랬을 것이며, 첫 아이가 태어났을 때 나의 분 신이라는 신비함이 그랬을 것입니다. 그 아이가 처음으로 스쿨버스를 타고 학교에 가던 안쓰러움이 그랬고, 학사모를 쓰고 졸업하던 날 온 가족이 모여 축하하며 사진을 찍던 날이 그랬습니다. 지난주 이제는 다 큰 아이들 넷이 엄마 아빠를 떼어놓고 처음으로 여행을 가면서 즐거워 하는 사진들을 보내올 때, 대견함으로 뭉클했던 마음이 그랬습니다.
혼자 이 세상을 정처 없이 사는 것이 우연의 결과인 줄 알았다가 나를 지으신 이가 있으며 나를 이 자리에 있게 하신 분, 하나님이 나를 사랑 하기까지 하신다는 허무맹랑했던 예수님의 십자가 이야기가 무딘 가 슴에 방망이질할 때, 세례를 받으며 머리에서 얼굴로 그리고 무릎으로 떨어지던 물이 마치 하나님이 잘했다 칭찬하시는 토닥거림처럼 느껴 졌던 감동이 그랬을 것입니다. 오늘도 그 소중한 첫 만남에 초대되어 오신 분들이 있습니다. 첫 만남이지만 오랜 친구를 만난 듯한 친숙함이 있고, 낯설지만 손에 익은 찻잔을 감싸듯이 따뜻한 예수님과의 첫 기억 이 되기를 기대합니다. 앞으로 두고두고 생각해도 지루하지 않고 늘어 진 옛날 비디오 테이프 같은 영상을 돌려봐도 낡지 않는 만남의 축복이 이루어지는 “오늘”이 되기를 기도합니다.
Gift of First Memory
Rev. Bryan Kim
In my memory, our first family trip was to Disney World in Orlando, FL. It just happened that a mission organization that I was serving in was having a board meeting at the Wycliffe main office located in Orlando, so I brought my family along. This was a long time ago. My older kids were in elementary school and my youngest wasn’t even born. Back then, it was popular thing to say, “We are going to Disney World” when asked the question where you are going if we win Super Bowl. I kept this trip a secret when we left the house, then surprised them with “We are going to Disney World!” when we changed plane in Pittsburg to a plane bound for Orlando. I thought they would pass out in excitement. They couldn’t even breathe. Even after we boarded, they kept asking flight attendants, “Is this plane really going to Disney World?” When we arrived in Orlando, we felt the warmth of weather and palm trees along the street made us all excited. Never mind walking, we couldn’t contain ourselves from dancing down the street. Many passers-by smiled at us. If I remember correctly, we mimicked Michael Jackson; we sang popular song ‘Step by Step’ by Whitney Houston, and we went crazy. The joy of traveling with family for the first time and to Disney World, which was dear to my children’s hearts, was so good.
The gift of first memory is precious to anyone. It is like the moment when a groom is given a hand of the bride in a wedding dress, and mystery of life and your existence as you witness the birth of first born. It is like anxious feeling of sending your child to school on a school bus for the first time, and the day that child graduates from college and taking family pictures in cap and gown. It is like the feeling when I received a Kakao message from my kids last week with pictures from their first sibling trip together, without mom and dad, and feeling proud with rush of emotions of realizing that it is time for them to leave the nest.
After thinking that it is possible to live alone without care in the world, then you realize that there is someone who created you, who brought you to this place and time, and the story of Jesus’ cross and His love for you that hits your hardened heart like a ton of bricks. In receiving baptism, it is the fresh feeling of knowing that God is praising you as the baptism water drops from your head to face to your knees. Today, we have people who are invited to that meeting of the first memory. It may be your first time, but I hope your memory will be familiar like meeting an old friend. Although it may be unfamiliar, your first memory of Jesus with us will be filled with warmth like familiar cup of tea in your hand. I pray that the memories of “today” will continue to be fresh in your heart, and that it will not wear out no matter how often it is replayed like an old video tape.