Memories: Remembering and Forgetting as Grace

Journals, Aids in Remembering

Journals, Aids in Remembering

I have been thinking about memories, both how we remember and forget.  It seems there is grace in each, depending on what we remember and forget.

I just finished reading a memoir, Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life by Abigail Thomas.  In it she poses a question about why we remember some things and not others.  Many memorable times have some kind of emotion attached to them — enjoyment or pain.  When we revisit memories, we might be searching for meaning.  We make meaning from our lives and events and in the process, our memories are changed.

I listened recently to a podcast on memories and our need to forget, Memory and Forgetting on To The Best of Our Knowledge.  Without the ability to forget, we have trouble moving forward.  They mentioned a man who had a ‘perfect’ memory but had trouble functioning because every detail stood out so clearly in his mind.  He could not prioritize.  He could not move forward in life in his career and most likely had trouble in other areas of his life as well.  Other people find it hard to move forward in life because they continue to be mired down in negative memories.

While it is important to remember that a hot stove will burn you, there are things that can be forgotten in a grace-filled life.  I was reminded of a poem my mother used to read to me, The Boy Who Forgets.  I found it in the Adventists’ Archives, in a Youth’s Instructor Newsletter published September, 13, 1910.  Thank you to the Adventists who have made their archive available on the internet.

During the dog days of August, perhaps this poem will bring a bit of grace into your life.  May we be given the grace to forget those things that deserve to be forgotten.  I can’t help but think that this forgetting will bring us closer to wholeness.

The Boy Who Forgets
I LOVE him, the boy who forgets!
Does it seem such a queer thing to say ?
Can’t help it; he’s one of my pets ;
Delightful at work or at play.
I’d trust him with all that I own,
And know neither worries nor frets; .
But the secret of this lies alone
In the things that the laddie forgets.

He always forgets to pay back
The boy who has done him an ill ;
Forgets that a grudge he owes Jack,
And smiles at him pleasantly still.
He always forgets ’tis his turn
To choose what the others shall play;
Forgets about others to learn
The gossipy things that ” they say.”

He forgets to look sulky and cross
When things are not going his way;
Forgets some one’s gain is his loss;
Forgets, in his worktime, his play.
This is why I am taking his part;
Why I say he is one of my pets ;
I repeat it with all of my heart :
I love him for what he forgets!
Pauline Frances Camp, in St. Nicholas

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About Sonja Roberts Dalglish

I love people, math, physics, and theology. I love mysteries which may explain the list above. I am a polio survivor, having had the disease in August 1954. The vaccine was declared safe in April 1955. I am very pro vaccines. They have increased the health and well being of the world. Presently, I am living just west of Corpus Christi, in Kingsville. For naturalists, this seems to be where the coastal plane and the Wild Horse Dessert meet. It is flat which gives us beautiful sunsets. One of our concerns is climate change. We are already hot and dry and getting hotter and dryer. The cattlemen and women are having to graze fewer livestock these days.
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5 Responses to Memories: Remembering and Forgetting as Grace

  1. Mary Ann says:

    This is lovely, Sonja. Reading that book made me think, too, about the things we remember and how we frame them, so I am working on a post for http://www.stonesandfeathers.wordpress.com with some similar thoughts. May I reference your blog post there?

  2. Pingback: Rosemary for Remembering | Stones and Feathers

  3. Betsy Schaffitzel says:

    Pauline France’s Camp is my great great grandma. My mom and her nine siblings grew up in the home that was built by the Camp’s in Springfield, Missouri. It is now owned by the eldest son of Eugene and Jean Spalding Horner. My grandma Jean Horner, an only child, inherited the house and raised 10 children in the home. It was built in 1897. My mom and aunts and uncles have beautiful copies made of all of Pauline’s paintings. We all gather in the “Camp” house on Christmas and share her poems. It is a wonderful time.

    • How wonderful to meet you here. Your great grandmother’s poem has meant a lot to me and to my mom over the years. It has been a source of grace. I did not know that she also painted. You have a wonderful legacy. Thank you for sharing your memories.

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