I was walking out to my car carrying an armload of Bibles, sketchbooks, and coats when I heard her call my name out from across the parking lot. She was standing in the church’s side doorway, waving her arm to get my attention. I stopped, and we met halfway. “I have something for you!” she said as she led the way to her car, and from it pulled a gift bag with pink tissue paper. “I didn’t have time to write a card, but this is just an encouragement gift!”
It wasn’t until I got home that I opened it, and inside I smiled when I found a gloved ice scraper.
If you don’t live in a cold climate, this might need some explanation. Here in the Midwest you have to scrape the ice off your windshield each morning when you leave for work during the winter months. It sounds easy enough, but as you do it, the ice will fall down your coat sleeve, getting your shirt wet. It’s not a massive problem, just annoying, and not being a fan of cold weather at all, I had mentioned to my friend several weeks before how much I was dreading it come winter.
So she bought me a gloved ice scraper that covers up my coat sleeve so the ice doesn’t fall down it when I scrape it off my car in the morning.
That gloved ice scraper means a lot to me. Not necessarily because of it’s usefulness, (though I’ll admit, I was very excited to use it) but mostly because it was proof that my friend had thought of me and gone out of her way to show it. Her gift said more than “I love you.” It said “I remembered you” and in today’s day and age, I think that might be the message more people need to hear.
It’s easy to just say the words “I love you” when opportunity presents itself. But those words are only meaningful if they are true. We need to hear them and say them, but perhaps more importantly, we need to prove them by saying through our actions “I remembered you.”
I remembered you when I called before your surgery that’s been planned for weeks.
I remembered you when I asked how the appointment that had you anxious went.
I remembered you when I gave you a hug on the anniversary of your loss.
I remembered you when I made a dessert for the potluck that you could eat despite your allergies.
I remembered you when I dropped flowers off on your birthday.
I remembered you when I texted you in the middle of the week just to ask how your heart was.
I remembered you because I love you.
Remembering is something that’s become more and more old-fashioned. We’ve begun to embrace our tendency towards forgetfulness and justify it with personality quizzes. We don’t even try to change it, and in doing so, I think we’re overlooking one of the most needed ways to come alongside our brothers and sisters. More often than not, what we need in our darkest seasons is to simply know we are remembered.
In Genesis chapter 40 we read the story of Joseph interpreting the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker while imprisoned in Egypt. When Joseph interprets the dream of the cupbearer and tells him that he will be restored to his position, he begs, “Only remember me when it is well with you, and please do me the kindness to mention me to Pharaoh, and so get me out of this house.” (Gen. 40:14) As we read on we see that the cupbearer was indeed restored to his position, but the closing verse of the chapter is one that hurts to read: “Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.” (Gen. 40:23)
For another two whole years, Joseph sat there in prison because the cupbearer did not remember him.
Forgetfulness is not something that goes without implications. Sometimes the greatest wounds are not the words that were said, but the ones never spoken. As Christians, we find great comfort in knowing that God has not forgotten us, and we have the opportunity to offer a reflection of that comfort to one another by actively remembering them.
Remembering is not something I am good at by nature, but it’s something I want to grow in. Maybe it’s remembering the friend who was not looking forward to scraping ice and giving her a gloved ice scraper. Maybe it’s writing down the day your friend has doctor’s appointments and calling to pray beforehand. Maybe it’s offering to watch the kids of the young wife whose husband is deployed. Maybe it’s remembering the due date of the friend who lost her baby and telling her you’re praying for her. Maybe it’s calling to obnoxiously sing “happy birthday.” Maybe it’s as simple as texting someone on a mundane Wednesday afternoon to ask, “hey friend, how’s your heart?”
It may take work, and it may be inconvenient, but let us strive to be a people who remember in a culture that expects us to forget. Let’s be a people who prove our love for one another by remembering them.