How many times have you forgotten something? I can walk out of a room and forget what I was going in the other room to get. If I don’t write everything down in my calendar, I will forget to show up for appointments (even regular appointments). One of the most obvious times I forget is in church. Right before I get ready to go make announcements, someone will tell me something they want me to mention. If I don’t write it down, in the span of 2 minutes, I will have forgotten. I am amazed at what I can forget.
Remembering truly is a gift and something that we have to practice. If it just came naturally, we wouldn’t have to be told to remember. As a pastor, I really enjoy reading and studying the Old Testament. Over and over again, God’s people are putting in place ways to remember. God gave the Israelite people festivals so that they could remember and tell the story. Passover is a perfect example of such an event. Many of the people written about in the Bible do things to remember particular events. They name places after events that happened so they will not forget. They set up altars and stones to remind them of the extraordinary moments that helped define their life and faith. They tell the stories to their children so that generations later, there is still remembrance. Remembering is an important part of the faith of God’s people in the Bible. Now, we have the Bible to help us to remember, if we read it.
Today is Memorial Day. It is a day set aside to remember. We are to remember those that gave their life in service to our country. It is an act of remembering the sacrifice. As a grief counselor, I hear over and over that people want to remember their loved one that has died. We want to remember. We don’t want to forget that which means so much to us. We don’t want to forget the sacrifices that have been made. We don’t want to forget the joys and the good times we had with our loved ones. And we shouldn’t forget the important foundational events that define our faith and belief. Remembering is a gift.
One of the most fearful and debilitating diseases is the loss of memory. To remain healthy but not be able to remember is terrifying for both the person and the family. It leaves a sense of helplessness. Remembering really is a gift that we treasure.
So if you have the gift of remembering, make it count. Even if remembering is challenging, put practices in place that help you to sharpen your skills. Remember what God has done – this gives hope for the future. Remember the people and events that have helped shape who you are today – this helps to understand your blessings. Remember those that have gone on before us – this can bring joy and alleviate the pain of the loss. Remember those that have sacrificed it all – this is what enables us to live in freedom. Remember your gifts and talents – this can help you to use those gifts and talents in the purpose of which you were created. If you have it, value the gift of remembering. And share your memories with others. It just might change a life.