Our family had a time where we were playing one of those memory games; you know, the kids game that has all of the matching cards that are placed face down in a grid. When you get a match, you get to try to find another match and collect more than the other players. This particular variety was Star Wars, so we were matching up starships, stormtroopers and Darth Vaders. I was a bit startled to find that my 9 year old son was killing it. No one was even close to getting as many matches as he did. Aside from having another one of those funny parent moments where your children start to surpass you in certain skills, it got me thinking about the very useful skill of remembering things.
I’ve developed a reputation at my house for being forgetful, unfortunately. I may or may not have had to turn the car around just yesterday to actually deliver necessary school papers to my daughter after specifically coming home to do that. I may or may not have gone to Arby’s last week to get the curly fries we ordered but they forgot to put in the bag, and yet then actually get distracted with something else and fail to get them. (I say may or may not because I can’t remember). Needless to say, my memory is not why my wife stays married to me.
It’s a small thing to remember where matching Chewbacca cards are but what about things that matter… even more than curly fries? As I was driving in to work today, it was one of those mornings where for no real reason I felt “blah.” Maybe I lingered to long in my thoughts about all that needed to be done with less time or my deferred hope that I would be further along on some things than I am. Regardless, I was getting sour. I made a choice at that point. I changed the conversation in my head and heart toward God and off of my own shortcomings and failures. I put on a worship song and belted it out in my car (windows up). As the words of God’s overwhelming love and his relentless forgiveness washed over me, I remembered.
I remembered that life is bigger than this decision or that chore. I remembered life is bigger than ME. I remembered that even though the world is not about ME, God still loves ME. It is tricky and yet clutch (slang for precisely what is needed) to remember that we as individuals aren’t so important as we wish, and terribly more important than we feared.
Reading through the Old Testament, God is virtually jumping up and down and shouting, “Hey! Hey! Do you guys remember who formed you? Remember who made you something? Remember who rescued you out of slavery with miracles!? Remember who gave you what you did not earn?!” Knowing it would be better for everyone involved to actually remember these things, He gave them ceremonies to follow, ways to dress, days to set apart, dietary restrictions and even physical body change (circumcision). Why? Because we forget...a lot. It requires conscious choice to remember.
As for me, one who is in the shallow end of memory, I am learning to not go through life flipping as many cards as I can, expecting that will produce a successful and fruitful life. I am learning to pause and remember.