The phrase sounds ominous to my “punitive-religion” DNA . . . makes me think of God scanning a database of all the mean things I ever said to my sister growing up.
But this idea took on new and hopeful meaning for me recently.
Looking around, I’ve noticed lately that quite a few of my friends are struggling with the onset of challenges related to aging. And I don’t really mean issues like gray hair (though, admittedly, this is a critical issue for some of us).
Actually, though, it’s likely none of them really cares what color their hair is . . . I notice more challenges with debilitating physical situations and, even more frustrating, a struggle with memory.
Friends who spent years and years—like, 60—leading Calvary’s boards and committees, caring for sick folks in the church, running Sunday School programs, hosting receptions, singing in the choir . . . you know, all those things . . . are now unable to get down to church much at all anymore.
There’s so much grief around this passage in life. What will happen, I wonder, when no one remembers how he used to be?
I carried the heaviness of his pain with me after our visit the other day. I know there is not much I can do to help, other than to try to help keep him as connected as possible to his church family and to God.
But some days I wish with all my might that I could turn the clock back just a little and give back the mental clarity and sharp recall that were such hallmarks for him . . . or even just adequately communicate to all the new people in our community what leadership and vision, commitment and presence he and many other elderly members gave over the years to this community.
As the community changes and the time goes by, I’m afraid, as he is, that everyone will forget. I got to thinking how blessed we are then, how blessed he is, that even if everyone else forgets . . . God will never forget. I realized this gift of hope as I sat next to his bedside and read out loud the beautiful words of the Psalmist:
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Gray hair, feeble bodies . . . loss of purpose, loss of relationship . . . changing of the guard, transitions in life . . . loving and losing . . . it all hurts a little. Sometimes a lot, actually. But today I think I’ll hang on tight to the thought that, even when we can’t even remember any of this, even where we are half the time . . . well, God never forgets.
God never forgets.