A dear friend, who shall remain unnamed in order to protect the guilty, and I were discussing some of our mutual flaws. Though many elements of our stories are different, we struggle with so many of the same issues – like the monumental, soul-crushing task of changing bedsheets. We laughed about how long it had been since one of us had last changed the sheets and how the other of us was currently sleeping on top of quilts while clean sheets lay in a laundry basket on the floor.
She laughed again and said something like, “Lauren, when it comes to us, sometimes I feel like it’s the blind leading the blind.” And I said, “No, we’re sighted. We just have really poor hand-eye coordination.”
Isn’t this all of us in one place or another, when it comes to how we are versus how we want to be?
We get it. We can see what should be done. But somewhere, the connection is lost between what we saw and what we’re doing. We forget.
This is why New Year’s Resolutions are the target of so many jokes. We forget the beauty of the goal we’d set with the best of intentions.
This is why reading through parts of the Old Testament sounds like a broken record playing, “Then they served other gods and did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” The Israelites, like me, forgot what they’d seen God do.
This is why marriage conferences and parenting books will always be in demand. We forget the ways we want to serve those we love most.
This is why I didn’t complete any of my health goals this week. I forget in the moment how important this leg of the table is and how many things may fall off if I don’t tighten it up.
This is why you are constantly enduring professional development on the job. Somebody forgot that a Diet Coke 12-pack doesn’t belong in the freezer, and now you must be reminded of courteous workplace practices.
If I may say, forgetting is a big part of being human.
You’ve probably heard that quote that just begs to be cross-stitched: “A friend is a person who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you’ve forgotten it.” It’s so true. (That is, unless the tune you were humming was “Murderous Revenge.” If someone sings that back to you, get a new song, and get a new friend.) I need people to remind me of the good things that I know. Isn’t it weird how we easily remember the bad, but it takes effort to remember the good?
These are some things that help me remember the life-balancing good:
I’m so grateful for my friend who is hopefully sleeping on [clean] sheets tonight. She helps me remember that despite my frustrations and failures, I’m a good teacher. She reminds me that too much TV for my kids is stealing too much happiness from our home. It takes effort to maintain our friendship, but I need it. I’ll even guess that we both do.
I struggle to take in God’s Word on a daily basis, but if I don’t, I can forget how all the dots connect. My heart forgets peace. My hands forget love. (I’m still feebly kickin’ it Hello Mornings style, but that’s another post.)
It’s not easy to get myself and my dancing, hiding, whining, laughing, loud, squirming children to church every week, but there’s a reason that God says in the book of Hebrews: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” [emphasis mine] He made it so that worshiping together makes us remember, too.
In other words, I’ve got to remember to do something to help me remember what it is I’m trying to do. Need to read that sentence again? I do, and I wrote it.
And maybe the beauty in forgetting is that we get a chance to experience joy all over again every time we remember.