There was not a single negative memory swirling through my anxious head. Only sweet ones as I was aware of the monitor tracking Tom’s heartbeat. An early morning house call of paramedics, extended hours in the ER and admittance to the cardiac floor, caused quiet reflection on the whole of life.
The day before on Wednesday, November 17, Tom and I had laughed and remembered the events on that same day fifty nine years earlier… our first date. A life time ago. I had planned to post a blog that day celebrating memories, but our server was down. The next day, November 18, Tom’s heart flipped, and this time, it wasn’t for me.
Here I am four days later…
As I sat those hours, remembering… the good, I didn’t give a single minute to negative thoughts. It wasn’t that I could not think of anything bad—every marriage, every relationship must work through those as they come, but in a time of reflection, I remembered the good, the best of life.
Thanksgiving week is for remembering… remembering the beautiful stuff of life and forgetting most, if not, all our hurts. It is a time of ‘letting go’ and being thankful for the journey.
So what do we remember and what should we forget?
To remember, the brain must actively forget, so suggests a July 2018 article in Quanta Magazine:
“Without forgetting, we would have no memory at all,” said Oliver Hardt, who studies memory and forgetting at McGill University in Montreal. If we remembered everything, he said, we would be completely inefficient because our brains would always be swamped with superfluous memories. “I believe that the brain acts as a promiscuous encoding device,” he said, noting that at night many people can recall even the most mundane events of their day in detail, but then they forget them in the following days or weeks.
“Maybe the brain is designed to forget information,” Davis said. Somewhere in the brain, he noted, there may be some sort of judge that tells it to override the forgetting process when it comes across something worth remembering in the long run.
This article informs us that forgetting serves as some type of filter, dismissing what is not important and remembering the necessary. Scientists continue to discover how this filter works.
What an amazing confirmation of God’s creation. This truth is stated over 250 times in Scripture, admonishing us to remember our promises, to remember God’s ways and directions for life, to remember our commitments. To remember the good things.
this must activity in our lives is expressed in Isaiah 43: 18,19. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”
Paul penned this same idea in Philippians 3: 13,14. “But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to win the prize…
Both of these references shout the truth of forgetting what hurts, what shames, what angers. And while true, there are tragic incidents in life requiring therapy and time; I understand completely as I walked the path of forgiving my father. Granted, bad things happen and beg us to remember, to hold on to every detail. The opposite is a ‘letting go’… a beautiful process. Life is a journey of ‘letting go’ … simply releasing, surrendering, giving away the hurt.
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” my friend responded immediately. I had called to ask forgiveness for my lack of checking some research I had promised to do. I smiled and thought, how wonderful to have friends who ‘don’t remember’.
Tom and I are blessed with the gift of forgetfulness. We choose to remember the good, the beautiful, the lovely moments and intentionally to ‘let go’ of those words and actions capable of damage. (Though sometimes it does take me a day or two!)This Thanksgiving is a time of immense gratitude, for you, my readers… I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy… Philippians 1:3,4
And thankfulness for every moment shared … Tom and I tread softly into each day, never taking the moments for granted, loving each other well, thankful for learning how to ‘let go’ these many years…
A verse that encourages us in remembering: Finally, dear friends, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on (and remember… my added words) such things. Philippians 4:8
… letting go…
Do you need a gift idea this Christmas? How about… Whispers on the Journey, available on Amazon … many of these pages reflect lessons of remembering and forgetting. If you would like a signed copy (US only), email me… firstname.lastname@example.org