What needs to be forgotten

What needs to be forgotten

Despite my dislike of winter, there is something to be said for snow.

It hides the ugliness of autumn’s withering touch.  A smooth blanket of white (something we didn’t quite get from this storm) offers the elegance of simplicity.

Lately, I have been thinking about remembering.  My last post reflected my fascination in holding on to memories.  And fresh from time spent with my grandkids, I also am keenly interested in being a lasting memory for them.

But the other day, I came across this poem.  Like a good painting that makes the viewer consider negative space, it flipped my perception to consider what should be forgotten.

Let It Be Forgotten

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten, 
   Forgotten as a fire that once was singing gold, 
Let it be forgotten for ever and ever, 
   Time is a kind friend, he will make us old. 
If anyone asks, say it was forgotten 
   Long and long ago, 
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall 
   In a long forgotten snow.

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

I rarely think of time as a friend.  It is mostly my sworn enemy -- the ticking clock that rules my days, the gravity that over the years weighs down my bones, the melting snow that erases the evidence of my sojourn here.

But there’s wisdom in her words.  That erasure is a blessing if rubs out the wrong that we have done.  We all have sharp, pointed memories of our worst moments that lurk in the shadows of our past, ready to accuse us.  What kindness it would be for us to forget them!

Worse than the pain our sins bring us is the grief they bring to our righteous God.  It surprises me that so few of the churches I have been visiting spend any time confessing.  It’s as if all we need is a reminder of the forgiveness, without remembering the pain God feels – indeed, that Christ himself bore – over our sin.

“I, I am he
who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:25)

How much greater the grace when we read these words, knowing how amazing it is for our great and holy Lord to no longer remember our small, yet mighty, acts of rebellion.

He chooses to forget.  To blot out our sins.

To melt them away like a hushed footfall 
   In a long forgotten snow.

What a blessing!

Father you tell us that when we confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  That though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.  How we praise you that you remember our sins no more!


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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.