I would not forget you!
(God, in Isaiah 49:15-16a)
In high school, my friend Glen (who stood in awe of my prodigious memory for detail) commended my ability with this pronouncement: “Mind like a Steel TRAP!”
In college, my roommate Sondra wore a T-shirt with a pixilated cartoon of a 30-something woman lamenting to herself: “I can’t believe I forgot to have children!” We roared over the idea of overlooking something so monumental.
Now I’m in my early 50s. I’m convinced Glen would hide his head in shame. I can relate to that spacy girl on the T-shirt. And when I attempt to juggle more than a few things, I inevitably drop and break a couple of them. Here’s the evidence:
… I forgot to grocery shop. Last week, the boys cried out, “Mom! We need food TODAY! You can see the back of the fridge!!” This is a major calamity for them. And for the life of me, I couldn’t conjure up what on earth I was supposed to buy to fill that fridge. When I asked what they wanted me to buy, they looked stunned, and a little terrified. “But Mom,” they protested,” you always know what to buy for us. Right, Mom?” My poor starving children.
… I forgot to make dinner for my family one night last week. It just didn’t occur to me. Somehow, they survived, if only by scraping from the (empty) fridge whatever leftovers they could find.
…I forgot about Ben’s school books. When I finally remembered to look for the texts he needed to read before classes start, they were nowhere to be found. I couldn’t even recall if I’d loaned them out, or if they’d been borrowed in the first place and we’d already returned them. (There are likely other options regarding their whereabouts, but they have not yet occurred to me.)
… I forgot the time of a field trip I’d scheduled. So when I posted a “helpful“ reminder to those participating, I posted the wrong time! Thankfully, only two families took me at my last-minute word and showed up three hours early.
I used to tell myself “Well, if I can’t remember it, it must not be that important.”
I don’t say that any more.
When I look at all I’ve forgotten in the course of a week (I’m assuming I’ve forgotten a lot of things that I don’t remember forgetting, if that makes any sense at all), I just laugh out loud. Perhaps I should take it a little more seriously, but I don’t really see the point. I haven’t seriously harmed anyone (to my knowledge) unless you count the repeated wounds to my pride.
Years ago, I thought I had to keep every duck in its proper row, so that life would run smoothly. The women I most admired did just that, and I always imagined that my house and family and life should look more like theirs anyways. But I’ve learned in the past decade that my life has a lot of random ducks flying and splashing and swimming every which way but loose. And that I have far less control over all the noise and commotion than I once believed I did. That’s okay with me; I know more completely that God's in charge of each and every duck, and that He has never once dropped anything while juggling.
Anyways, I’m convinced I really do remember the important stuff:
. . . Talking and laughing with my sons, enjoying their company
. . . Appreciating my husband, even on days when I’m in no mood to do so
. . . To watch for and celebrate God’s fingerprints in the ordinary and extraordinary moments, the best times and the worst times of life
. . . To set up my percolator the night before, so I don't have to think in the morning
. . . The blessing of wise friends who are also fun
. . . Hundreds of one-of-a-kind memories from my sons’ childhoods
. . . My favorite songs and Scripture passages, which point me to Jesus again and again
. . . Our favorite Seinfeld episodes (The Chinese Restaurant!)
. . . To daily inhale the beauty of shadowed mountains and an ever-shifting sky in my own backyard, all made by the God who also made me, and who never forgets a solitary thing.
That steel trap has long since given way to years of rust, but I’m fine with that (although I don’t know that my teenagers are). There’s an ocean of peace in knowing that God is the manager of all those scrambling ducks. Even back in my more coherent days, when I thought I was manager of my life, He was.
Always has been, always will be, no matter what I remember or forget.
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)
are God. (Psalm 90:1-2)