Contrary to the idea that the older you get, the more you forget, it has never been my experience. I have forgotten things for as long as I can remember. I even forget things that never actually happened.
As a young person, I was quite fascinated with uncle Fred. Everybody who knew him called him Sir Forgets-A-Lot.
I remember once spending a whole day with him working on his farm. I forget what we were doing, but we spent our time together. He told me one funny story after another, and I enjoyed them all.
Finally, I had come to the point of asking him about his nickname.
“Uncle Fred, why do they call you Sir Forgets-A-Lot?”
He looked at me, laughed, sat down and began explaining the situation. I was eager to hear the story from his perspective.
“Well,” he said as he began his story, “it’s basically because I do forget a lot of things.” And then he laughed.
Then he said something that sort of stumped me.
“Son,” he said with a very serious tone of voice, “sometimes the best thing you can do is to forget something.”
Then he gave me some illustrations.
“I’m sorry I didn’t show up at your birthday party; I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t send you that money; I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
I began to understand why anybody who knew uncle Fred called him Sir Forgets-A-Lot. He got out of trouble whenever he was in trouble by confessing that he had forgotten about it.
He didn’t forget anything; he was simply manipulating people at the time. The great part was that very few people, maybe I’m the only one, ever knew what he was doing.
I thought about him for a while, and the more I thought about him, the more I began to understand what he was talking about. So no matter what problem he was in, he could solve that problem by saying, “I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
Uncle Fred passed away a few years back, and I can’t forget him. I now know why he was always smiling, and I am interested in what he was teaching me. Whether he was teaching me intentionally or not, I am becoming a grade A student.
The test of all this is in front of The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She never knew uncle Fred, and I have yet to tell her his story. Some things are better forgotten, if you know what I mean.
When I come against The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, I must understand that she never forgets anything. In fact, I have suspected on many occasions that she remembered something that never actually happened. I have never addressed that in front of her. That’s why I’m a happy husband.
She will often query me by stating, “Did you remember….?” I always reply, “I’m sorry, my dear, I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
Forgetting is not just the blessing of old age, it’s just a blessing.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
Even God exercises the blessing of forgetting, for which I am so grateful.
Dr. James L. Snyder