Since I started my MA in Theological Studies, it seems that I am forgetting things at an alarming rate. Names. Dates. Details. Questions. Answers. I will remember something someone said, but not who it was. I will remember reading an interesting thought, but not remember where it was or when I read it. Part of the equation is that I am inundated with more information than ever before, reading huge quantities of texts and volumes that not only cover quite a range of topics, but rather large expanses of history. My brain is not amused.
I am particularly bad at names for some reason. I have been teaching a few university classes this term as part of my job as a TA (teaching assistant). I enjoy it a lot. I have no problem standing in front of 40 students and talking, but the topic of Christian Spirituality is broad, and I have to cover many important historical figures and texts. Each class I have taught, I have managed to forget or wrongly identify the name of one of the people I am lecturing on. Thankfully, bright young students quickly correct my error, I make a joke about my mental lapse, and we move on. I hate forgetting. Because I know how it feels to be forgotten. In some ways, it is the ultimate insult - that one is forgettable or easily overlooked when there is a distraction.
This past week has been filled with many meetings, classes, office hours, group activities, visitors, and lots of studying and reading. It is during busy and challenging times like this that forgetting can happen, both by me and to me. We become people in passing, involved in fleeting events, rushing through encounters and tasks as we hurry on to the next important thing.
Early yesterday morning, my new iPhone (best birthday present EVER, Dean!!) buzzed on the table next to my bed. I quickly picked it up, realizing as I did so, that I was starved for personal connection and meaningful remembering. It was my friend from Germany. He had written me a lengthy note relating how he had read something I wrote, and it impacted him in a strong way. He told me what he had been thinking about, then mentioned other literature he was reading, and how it all seemed to point to the same thing. His encouraging words ended with a suggestion of some fiction that I might like. It was a note tailor-made for me by someone who knows me and loves me.
I laid my head back on the pillow, deeply touched by the words of my far-away friend, and a gentle Spirit voice spoke to me: I remember you. Every day and every moment, I remember you. You may not remember me, but I always remember you. I am your Father, and I always remember you.
When I have moments that I feel forgotten and overlooked, I want to remember those words. To remember means to keep something in the mind, to remain aware of something or someone, and to do it again and again. Let me not only remember that I am remembered, but let me remember the Rememberer, and let the gift of remembering seep into every area of my life. The slogan on our license plate is, after all, Je me souviens, or I remember. Instead of starting the day by remembering all my appointments and tasks, let me begin by remembering the important people in my life. Let me remember God often: in thoughts, in words, in deeds, in eating and drinking, in wine and bread, in sleeping and waking, in laughing and crying.
May I live in constant remembrance of the Name that comes before every other name. And may this mindfulness infuse inspiration, breath, vigour, and clarity into each moment.
This is a photo of a cake we ate last night in celebration and remembrance of the birth of our dear friends' baby one week ago. Blissful baby slept through the whole party!