I don't Remember
Last week, I spent two happy days at a gathering of Christian artists of all persuasions called ‘In God’s company’. The purpose of the event was for Christian artists to join together in praising our awesome God; to ‘perform’ and use our talents for God; and to learn more about our craft in an encouraging setting.
It was also hoped that we would form networks to support one another after the event. It was certainly a great way to meet many Christian singers, writers, dancers, musicians, artists, actors and the like. The entire event was free. The food and drinks were free – the workshops were free. We just had to turn up! Amazing! I take my hat off to the beautiful lady who organised it all in obedience to God’s call. It was so good to be able to worship together, eat together and learn together.
I really enjoyed the privilege of composing and singing a worship song at the event. I was also thrilled to liaise with many other artists whom I met for the first time. What I benefitted from most though, was a workshop I attended, where I learnt a lot about how to refine my writer’s craft. It was conducted by a writer who obviously knew everything there was to know about writing “creative non fiction”, which is what I consider to be my special calling as a writer.
He gave us many interesting exercises to try out. I especially enjoyed one where we were asked to spend 5 minutes scribbling about ‘What I can’t Remember”. Does that sound odd? It did sound weird. But no sooner had my pen touched the paper, that I was off – up, up and away into a very interesting five minutes of thought and remembrance and (non remembrance too)!
Here’s what I put down during those 5 little minutes:
I can't Remember
“I can’t remember the day I was born. Was it a sunny day, a windy day or a day when the rain poured down in buckets? Did my six older brothers and sisters crowd around me, wanting to hold me? I can’t remember.
I can’t remember what my first day of school was like except that my friend Prithiva’s Mum stayed around the whole day and mine didn’t. Did I mind? Yes. Did it matter? I can’t remember!
I can’t remember if I have always loved chocolate. Did I? Or didn’t I? I do now and that’s what matters. I can’t remember when I last saw the full moon riding majestically in the sky. Was it last week? Two weeks ago? I can’t remember.
I can’t remember when I started writing stories. Was I eight years old? 9 years? 10 years old? Doesn’t matter. I am 54 years young now and I am still writing.”
Perhaps you should have a go and see where it takes you as you explore this surprisingly interesting exercise – thinking of things you don’t remember! I am told it has great promise as a memory jogger and I can well believe it.
Are there things that God would rather I didn't remember? Hmmm! Here then are few possibles as things to 'not remember'!
Did anyone ever hurt me during my lifetime? I can’t Remember!
Was I a victim of life’s circumstances? I can’t Remember!
Was my name praised and held in high renown by family and friends? I can’t Remember!
Is pain (both emotional and physical) a big part of my life? I can’t Remember.
Did a good friend ever let me down? I can’t Remember.
Did something dreadful happen to me during the past few years? I can’t Remember.
Did I get a pat on my back the other day for doing something noble? I can’t Remember.
God’s given us the wonderful faculty of remembering. It’s a faculty that has blessed me very often. I’m sure you’d say the same. But you know, you and I can choose what we want to remember. If I nurse grievances and cling onto them tightly – I only hurt myself. If I choose to remember the hurts I have accumulated on my life’s journey – I’d be like a silly little pack mule whose back gets heavily laden with too many burdens to carry. I could alternatively choose to remember all the good I have received from God and from life. I’d then feel light and joyful, like a happy young lass wearing a soft cotton summer dress dancing in the park, on a beautiful, warm, sun kissed summer’s day.
If I choose to remember the failures in my life and carry them around, it might be like piling bricks on my head till it hurts like crazy. Instead, I can simply learn from my failures, making those bricks into a beautiful gazebo to sit inside and enjoy. If I choose to carry around any good deeds I do, it might be like a large, ugly, flambouyant medal pinned to my chest. By forgetting them, I could instead put on a lovely soft cloak of humility which becomes me far more.
I can stay stuck in a mud hole as a victim of life’s circumstances. Instead, I could step out boldly onto firm ground, focusing on the many positive things in my life. I do realise of course that remembering the bad is not always detrimental. Remembering my mistakes, my sins and failures can help me feel grateful beyond measure for God’s amazing grace. Remembering the difficult seasons may help me enjoy the good times when they come, far more than if I didn’t. Remembering the faults of others may be a stepping stone to improving myself. So yes, not all remembering of negatives is something to shy away from.
There are many parts of my life which I don’t remember. But I do remember this. God is good. And life with Him is wonderful; one I would not exchange for anything.
So this I will do. I will confidently walk in his ways in deep gratitude for all I do remember of His love and His grace towards me.