Do you forget things? I do…and it bugs me, although the consequences are often minor. Selective amnesia is not such a bad thing. Think of it as a kind of spring cleaning of the mind, so you can free up some room for stuff that matters.
That said, here’s what I’d be happy to forget…and what I hope not to.
Stuff to forget during brain-cleanings:
My childhood phone number: (WO6-0642).
The star of Dr. Kildare: (Richard Chamberlain).
The name of the girl down the street who bullied me: (Maureen).
The teal dress I wore to the Junior Prom.
I forget other things, and often it’s not a big deal.
What I can forget (no big deal):
The reason I just came into the kitchen.
How old I am.
The botanical names of the plants in my garden.
The name of the last book I read. (It was good…)
Forgetting can also have consequences–embarrassing, but largely remediable.
What I wish I hadn’t forgotten (but nobody died):
My anniversary. (Isn’t our love to be celebrated every day?)
Birthdays. (“Belated” is a term I use frequently.)
The name of the former client I ran into out of context. (Embarrassing!)
A Monday morning meeting. (Why didn’t I check my calendar Sunday night?)
The list I made to take to the supermarket.
Yet there are memories burned into me that I hope never to forget.
What never to forget:
The twelve people who were murdered in a Jewish Synagogue last weekend.
The children who have died in school shootings.
The stories of my grandparents and other ancestors, fast disappearing.
The lives of the faceless refugees leaving terrorized lands.
The children separated from their mothers at the border.
That guns kill.
That the marginalized: elderly, prisoners, disabled, or poor, are human like me.
That our world needs elders and my job is to become one.
That democracy cannot be taken for granted.
That hope heals even in the worst times.
Let the small stuff fade away, but hold on to what counts, like remembering what’s in the United States Constitution.
And please, don’t ever forget to vote.
With prayers for the families of recent victims,