30 March, Wednesday — Lest we forget…

Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Isa 49:8-15
Jn 5:17-30

Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.

Last month, I met up with an ex-colleague/mentor, who had flown in from Sydney to visit his in-laws. N had taken me under his wing more than 30 years ago when I was starting out as a junior copywriter, and we worked under one of the toughest creative group heads in a then thriving, globally-recognised advertising agency.

In setting up this dinner meeting, N had divulged to me (and to another group of ex-colleagues on Facebook Messenger) that he had Alzheimer’s. So while the other group were busy trying to get a date to meet up for lunch with him, I privately messaged him to say I wanted to meet with him alone and just catch up. Needless to say, I arranged to pick him up from his in-laws’ home and we went somewhere nearby for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised when he walked out to greet me — N was fit, trim, hearty and all smiles. Throughout dinner, we chatted away and updated each other on our lives since more than a few years ago when we met. And yes, he repeated himself a few times.

But because I was aware of his condition, which he openly acknowledged as we sat down for our simple meal, I just went along with the flow of our conversation and made it a point not to veer off topic too often, nor bring in other unnecessary unknowns or names in order not to confuse him. After a wonderful 90 mins, I sent him home and reminded him to check his email for the updates that he was keen to ‘record’ and so that we could stay in touch. Unsurprisingly, he only replied that email a week later, when he had gotten home and settled back to his daily routine.

In the days following our meetup, I couldn’t help but feel sad that a once creative, active, methodical mind was slowly but surely being reduced in terms of capacity (though N was actively managing the decline). I recall the final conversation I had with my dad before he passed away, when I finally realised that he did have early onset dementia. I now appreciate why my mum keeps herself so busy and active — because she did not want to end up ‘forgetting everyone and everything’.

In today’s first reading, the Lord is pretty effusive in His assurances to us mere mortals that come what may, He will NEVER abandon us nor forget us. Truly, it speaks to His everlasting, unconditional and unflinching love for each and every one of us. Yet, when it comes to sin, our loving Father truly forgets when we confess them sincerely and with a desire to repent. How different it is for us, his sons and daughters, who instead prefer to remember a grievance, hold on to anger, and refuse to forget even after those who have injured us apologise. If God himself chooses not to remember our sin, who are we to decide that a relative, friend, colleague, ministry member, priest is not worthy of our forgiveness? Why do we choose to cling on to what wounds us, instead of remembering the good that others have done for us (knowingly or unwittingly)?

Have we become such a ‘dog eat dog’ society that as we go about our daily lives, we consistently choose not to honour Jesus, and therefore dishonour God the Father as well? Can we find it in our hearts to forgive and forget more often, rather than point the finger of blame and turn a blind ear to those who are truly sorry for having hurt us?

It is a lot easier said than done.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are weak and powerless. You alone are the source of love and everlasting mercy. Give us the desire to have a heart for Jesus, so that we can choose to forgive and ‘forget’ those who have hurt us. We ask for your graces to flood our hearts. Amen.  

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for your unconditional love for us, and for those who hurt us.

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