I have had the opportunity to move a number of times in my life, both geographically and from one job to another. One of my greatest fears about these transitions, especially when I was younger, was that people would forget me. In my thirties I began the practice of choosing items that were either in my office that I was leaving or part of my daily life that I would give to people for particular reasons. It was my way of planting a seed so that I would be remembered.
I have learned with time and experience that what helps me remember people in my life are the stories which I share with them. I have a friend, who I remember every mother’s day. When both of us were single and didn’t have children we would have a mother’s day picnic, if we weren’t able to be home with our birth mothers. Even though she has now become a stepmother and grandmother, I still remember with sweetness these picnics.
I have friends and colleagues that were part of tremendous learning experiences in my life as a chaplain. To take this circle of people out of my memories would be as difficult as extracting my spine from my back.
In the first reading for March 29th from Jeremiah, the Lord tells the house of Israel,
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
The readings during this Lent, especially those from the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) have been full of examples of ways that the Lord reached out to the people of Israel, be it to feed them in the desert or select a king for them. We have also heard from Isaiah as he sought to console and remind the house of Israel who were exiles in a foreign land that the Lord was with them.
What I have experienced in myself and connect with the House of Israel is that we can experience all of the miracles in the world, but if we do not allow the miracle to become part of heart relationship with God, we risk forgetting. Lent is a time given for us to slow down enough to wake up, to be aware of the relationship which God calls us. It is a powerful covenant which the Holy One has written on our hearts.
As this fifth week of Lent unfolds, I will seek to be more attentive to that ongoing love story with the Holy One which gets played out in everyday life; both in the quiet of my heart and through God reaching through others in everyday interactions.