October 21, 2017
A friend commented on yesterday’s post, kindly telling me that my scribblings have been helpful to him. I appreciated his words of encouragement; such words are always welcome. Whether it’s sports, life, or literature, people need encouragement, and usually respond better to it than to criticism. My friend went on to say that he wondered if the date for the past couple days was “in honest error, or to weed out those who are truly paying attention or bold enough to point it out.”
I assured him that calendar dates are among the many things I easily lose track of. I just know I have that book I need somewhere in the boxes in the garage. Once I looked for days for my Go-Devil. For the uninitiated, it’s the size of a sledge hammer, not exactly the easiest thing to lose. Like the saying goes, “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” Yep. That’s me! Linda says that someday it will all pay off; every time we see each other it will be like our first date.
Memories often haunt us. Most of us have had experiences we would prefer to forget, but trauma has a neurological effect on our brains that hardwires it into our memories. Years ago, I talked with a WWII vet who had been shot down over Europe and interned in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. Knowing how many Vietnam vets suffer from PTSD, I asked him about it. “We don’t hear much from you WWII vets. How did it affect you?” Fifty years after his imprisonment, he told me of his wife waking him up in the middle of the night as he thrashed around in a cold sweat. Many of his memories were frightful things. I’ve listened to countless similar stories from adults who had been abused as children, or from people who had drifted into depths of depravity from which they later emerged, but not without scars.
When John Newton, slave trader turned Christian minister and author of “Amazing Grace,” was an old man, he could often be found walking the streets of Bristol, England. People would stop to talk with this now famous man, who inevitably would tell them that in his later years he had forgotten many things, but two things he remembered well: “I was a great sinner, and Jesus is a great Savior.”
A friend told me of a woman who was suffering from dementia. Her daughter would faithfully come to see her, even though her mother didn’t recognize her anymore. It made all the difference when her mother told her, “I don’t remember your name, but I know I love you.”
Some day, our memories will be purged of all that gives us pain and grief. Our God who forgets our sins remembers us, and loves us. And we will love him completely when not only the sin that divides, but even the memories of it, are no more.