The third time is a charm they say. Well, I sure hope so. I am tired of washing this same load of laundry, the load that is removed from my realm of remembering the minute it is finished, the load that becomes musty before I can manage to get into the dryer. What in my life is so pressing that I cannot remember to move a load of washed laundry into the dryer, three times over? And I talk to myself like I’m a day-dreamy girl, “Get your head out of the clouds, little love! We have a lot to do!”
The damp clothes finally make it to the dryer. They tumble with my woolen dryer balls sprinkled with lavender and I feel so accomplished. Like lavender dryer balls can bring world peace. But for now, I take solace in this one thing completed, and my world appears a bit more steadied. I know, ridiculous, but honest.
Days go by, and I continue to hear the words “remember” and “forget” in the tiny ordinary moments that knit together to make my life. It often takes the repeating of something to get my full attention – like the laundry reminding me of my forgetfulness.
So, I pray. I simply ask, “Why am I hearing ‘remember’ and ‘forget’ at every turn? What do you have to say to me? What do I need to hear? And thank you for graciously using my laundry mishaps to teach me beautiful things.”
Two verses come to mind. Two seemingly contradicting verses.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.”
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,”
One might wonder, “So, exactly how do I remember God’s miracles of long ago if I am supposed to forget what is behind?” And I am reminded that it’s not an either/or situation, rather a both/and.
The Psalm was penned during a “day of trouble.” It was a time of great distress for the psalmist, one in which he could find no comfort. I imagine his sorrow continued to pull him deeper into despair as he dwelled upon his unsteadied emotions. Then he stops himself, maybe like grabbing a life preserver before going under, and says, “I will appeal to this. . . I will remember the deeds of the Lord. . .”
Paul accomplished much, but he knew that resting in past accomplishments kept him stationary and he still had a lot to do. Forgetting the past kept him fluid, full of momentum, effective and hungry for the future.
Sometimes we must remember, but other times we must forget. When struggles cause despair, we must remember the ways God moves on behalf of his people. When the past makes us stationary and ineffective we must let it go. The aim is to remain close to our Father.
Another prayer bubbles up. “What am I remembering that I need to forget, and what am I forgetting that I need to remember? Please show me, God."
And as I head down the basement stairs to change over one more load of laundry, I think of his faithfulness to me and anticipate all things yet to come.