Our family is preparing to move from a place we love for one that we like not so much. There is nothing about this move that excites me, even on my most optimistic days.
One of the most difficult things to leave are our friends. Despite many promises of “we’ll keep in touch” or “so and so is not that far away”….I know better. Once we leave, within two weeks most will rarely think about us again. The people I laugh with today will largely forget me within a matter of weeks.
Alexander Pushkin said it well, ‘oblivion is the natural lot of anyone not present. It’s horrible, but true.’
On my dresser is an urn holding my baby boy. He is the third child I had that died in utero. Our family named him “Irish”, which I probably would have never named him had he lived to see the sun, but still, Irish caused me great agony. He was my heart’s desire, one of our last attempts at another child and he was placed in my hands lifeless. The despair over his death lasted close to a year for me. Yet, even he, has slipped into oblivion.
Oblivion: the condition or state of being forgotten.
From the first song in The Phantom of the Opera, “Think of Me,”
Think of me, think of me fondly, when we’ve said goodbye.
Remember me once in a while, please promise me you’ll try.
Am I comfortable with being forgotten? There is a natural tendency to want to claw our way into being remembered. To insist on doing something that will leave a mark on humanity. To leave a wake of our essence behind us. To do or be something so exceptional as to defy this natural law of “out of sight, out of mind”. We hope that our measly lives amount to something worth being remembered, for if we live and die and the memory of our existence disappears, the point to our life seems to vanish too.
Total absence never made my heart grow fonder, it made my heart forget.
To not be forgotten, you have to either live with the person, be in constant communication with that person or be that person.
And so, I face my reality. The world will most assuredly forget me. Even my children will come to a point where they think of me infrequently. My spouse, well, he’s stuck with me til’ one of us dies, but after that, I know that whoever is left standing will slowly begin the process of forgetting the other. I might as well not fight it, I won’t be remembered by people.
Could God forget me too? Might He?
If man and God should forget you how terrible! But if man forget you and yet God does not, what have you lost? And if man should remember you but God does not, what have you gained? For even the man who might remember you will himself, someday be forgotten.
I wonder sometimes if God will forget those cast into hell. I suppose He might for they are permanently removed from His presence. I can’t think of a Scripture that speaks to Him forgetting them at the moment, I don’t believe there is one (forgetting meaning not deletion of memory, but indifference). Even if God dismisses those, I feel confident He will remember me solely on my standing in Christ. In Christ, the presence of God is always with me through the Spirit, communication with Him has freely opened and mystery of mysteries, I am somehow IN Him. No, He won’t forget me.
I’m okay with moving into oblivion. Truthfully, it is sometimes painful because people are important to me, but I don’t see it as fatal because when all is said and done, it is a minor oblivion. The real oblivion that I fear is an impossibility, so long as I am found in Christ.