“This is a year to forget!” he wrote in his message. When I first read it I laughed. Rick with his perfect mix of humor and compassion had nailed it. The saying “when it rains it pours” has come to mind often in the last year. Between my health and my kid’s it’s been a physically and emotionally challenging year to say the least.
When his message arrived, it was four weeks post-op and life without my gallbladder wasn’t going so well. Gone were the problems I’d struggled with before, but the shock to my system had been greater than anyone anticipated. Feverish, fatigued, and dehydrated I was not a happy camper which made the thought of writing the year off even more appealing.
He’s right I thought. Who wants to remember what I’ve been through this last year the least of which has actually been physical—the greater burden has been my kids and their struggles.
As I mulled the idea over I remembered a conversation with another friend. He’d stopped me to see how I was feeling and went on to tell me how touched he was by the outpouring of prayer on my behalf.
“It’s so cool,” he said. “When you ask your friends to pray for you on Facebook you see this immediate response. It’s like you have an army of folks willing to do battle for you.”
I loved his metaphor. I think of my friends as prayer warriors.
“I love it,” he said. “I wish I had that.”
I didn’t know what to say other than, “You’d be surprised—you might. You definitely could.”
He gave me a pat on the shoulder and said, “Well whatever, I just hope you get better.”
I knew I’d gone too far with my comments but I couldn’t help myself. I want everyone to have a community of faith to which they can belong. Life is so much better when you don’t have to believe for everything yourself.
Remembering this conversation I had to re-think Rick’s idea. If a genie gave me a wish and I could erase every painful memory would I take it?
I didn’t have an answer until the next day when I gathered up all the pennies on my desk waiting to find their home in the penny jar. That’s when it hit me that if I took the offer and wished away the year I’d be wishing away not just the bad but the good. Every penny, every prayer, every kindness shown to me would go with it. Not to mention the insights that came with them—the greatest being that God created me with greater resilience than I could ever imagine.
Would I really want to lose the gift of knowing that, in exchange for erasing the shadows that have marked some of my days? No—absolutely not. Forgetting is the greatest enemy to faith there is. Forgetfulness minimizes the goodness of God that finds its way into our lives.
To throw out the good with the bad would be like putting all the pennies I’ve found in the last year back where they came from. It would mean tearing up notes I’ve been sent, giving back treats left on my doorstep, and hanging up on friends calling to see how I was doing.
The trade wouldn’t be worth it. My faith would only shrink because the evidence of God’s reality and power isn’t found in a trouble-free life. It’s found in a life of hard things made bearable by the kindness of the people God surrounds you with. For me, that’s the making of a year to remember not forget.
Thank you my friends for being a part of it. Where the Bible says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,”* I’m ever so thankful you’ve embraced the idea. Your faith has kept me going. I hope on your hard days mine can do the same for you.