Writing is such a personal, intimate thing. Authors are usually people who look inward and create fantastic worlds for us, report on the world around us, or help us reach back into the past and see the world as it was. I have always thought of blogs like having your personal diary open on your desk and other people stopping by and reading it. Each post added to a blog is like turning the page in that diary. I write because it’s sort of like something that needs to come out. Some days I write a lot. Sometimes I have gone, quite literally, months between posts. Most often, I write to get something off my chest, or to express something that feels like I have a need to share with others or I will burst! It’s like my cell phone. (Bear with me a little here). My iPhone is so complete, I usually only use my computer for doing this blog or paying bills (I know the arguments against that, but it is just so much simpler!). All my information about family and friends is in my phone. I lost my phone for a few hours last weekend in the snow. A kindly stranger turned it into a customer service desk and I cannot tell you how relieved I was…because I realized it would take me FOREVER to get the information back that I had stored in my phone. It has so many neat apps on it and one of my favorites is Notepad. I use it ALL the time! Well, if you ask me someone’s phone number, email address, or house address, I’d have to excuse myself while I looked it up on my phone. I don’t have to remember things like this anymore, because my phone does it for me. And when I write, after it is written, I am usually over the issue and I forget about it. I am also one of those types who gets angry (hard to believe, I know). I may yell or speak harshly (ask my boys) but once I do, I move on. I don’t harbor grudges or stay mad at people. I blow up and then it’s done. I use my writing as a way, sometimes, to ease the pressure…sort of like the steam escaping a boiling teapot. Once you release the steam, the pot settles down. That’s me.
And so I am musing over something that is really bugging me. I have noticed that I am loosing my ability at times, to think clearly and remember details. It worries me because my mom has dementia and Alzheimer’s. And I realize that I forget things all the time. People say to me, “Oh, you remember when we….?” And honestly, many times I don’t. I’m not sure if it is because my brain gets lazy, if I rely on my iPhone too much to remember for me (gasp!?! Reliance on technology!) or I just get distracted. Am I not giving the moment the attention it deserves and so I cannot recall it later on?
In our world of chaos and noise, I often think that adding to this noisy chaos by blogging is not helping the situation. Computer usage really draws us away from others. Computers can, however, bring disparate people together – those who are geographically separated can connect and it eases that separation somewhat. I do try, however, to keep more silence than aimless chatter. I try to steer away from adding to gossip or just the noise around us. So does my memory loss have more to do with going through them and throwing out the ones that truly don’t matter? Is it important I remember the color dress I wore 10 years ago, or if it was raining or sunny at some event I attended? Perhaps not. Someone with Alzheimer’s will know those details, though. A person with dementia can’t recall yesterday, let alone years ago. A dementia patient has short term memory and that is about it. Alzheimer patients cannot recall what a fork is for, or remember to eat, but they know incredible details about years past. So I am leaning towards a sort of mental evolution, if you will allow that terminology. A pattern of memory losses and gains, I guess!
I am learning that God is never through with me. He allows me to trip up and make mistakes over and over again, until His lesson gets ingrained in me. All of us come from somewhere. We all have pasts that perhaps are not worthy of remembering. I have let go of many things from my teen years and young adulthood that do not speak well of me. I have been taught, and I have learned, over the years to adjust my vision to things that are not so much “of the world” and tend to the more philosophical and theological.
I was recently helping my daughter-in-law to make a memory book for my mom. I have been told these sorts of things help them to cling to their own history, and to see their lives in snapshots helps to keep them grounded. As I was going through the 84 years of my mom’s life, I was drawn back to memories I thought I had lost. I realized I had put them “on a shelf” and let them rest there. But when I wanted to, I could recall all sorts of details (my poor daughter-in-law had to sit and listen to them with me for over 6 hours earlier this week! God bless her!). And I so enjoyed remembering my life as a young child and the things my brother and I did. I could pull them off that shelf and remember, fully, all the wonderful times of my childhood. The Lord is good; He has allowed me to live in His light, in His love, and has guarded me from the evil one. He has healed many of my memories and has allowed many others to just fade away, all while helping me retain what is good and positive about my life.
This is the season where we prepare to welcome the Son of God as a Child. We should get our “houses” in order in more ways than one. Confession is good for us and helps us become clearer-headed and hearted, as we wind our way to Christmas. If you do not believe in confession to a priest or cleric, it is certainly priceless to sit and contemplate before God all your sins and seek His forgiveness. I personally feel incredible after a good and holy confession. And I believe it is more important to prepare our hearts than our homes. Decorating for Christmas is so fun and I love it, as you would know if you have read my posts before. I love pretty much everything about Christmas. But I also know that my spiritual preparation is more important than baking cookies and buying gifts. Christ smiles at us when we are clear and free in our hearts and spirits after confession.
There is a wonderful Catholic theologian and author, Peter Kreeft, who I quote quite often. In one of his many books, he spoke about Confession and told this wonderful story (which I will totally paraphrase): When we face the judgement seat of Christ, we can picture ourselves standing there, before the Throne, with nothing but a couple of suitcases. Christ will ask us what we have brought with us. Our response will be, “Lord, I brought my sins with me.” And He will tell us that when He forgave us our sins, it was as if they never happened. He will go back into the timeline of our lives and pull those sinful acts or omissions out of our timeline and it will be as if they never existed. We are the ones who need to forgive ourselves and to let our sinful pasts be just that; our past. And this is what I think is happening to me and some of my memories – they are memories that are best forgotten because I was (and still am) a fearful sinner and I lug these sins, over which I have sought forgiveness time and again, with me wherever I go. I need to let them go. As I am maturing in my faith, and I find holes in my memory, I am learning to be okay with that. I trust God and I know He is guiding me in the way I need to go. He is allowing me to forget certain aspects of my past, in order for me to have a better future.
And so I post now and then. I blog. I add to the cacophony of sounds around me by tapping away on my laptop. And I allow issues to come and go and I try not to cling to those things I need to let go. I get out of God’s way and allow His healing to reach deep into my heart and rip out the things I need to let go of. And I am finding my way to that peace that knows no understanding, that peace of God. (Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7)
My prayer is for forgiveness from past sinful acts or omissions. If I have offended you in any way, please forgive me. I extend my hand to you as a friend and a fellow journeyman on the road to Divine Eternity with God. I pray for company on this journey and as I ponder the things in my life, I extend an offer to join me by reading this blog. Let us not judge one another, but love each other as God intended us to love one another: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).