A grace-filled daily reflection from a colleague got me thinking. He was writing about those wonderful words of Paul, which are included in the little rationale for joy and grief coexisting at funerals which is included in our Book of Common Prayer (p. 507):
“neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My friend pondered those times when we are separated even from ourselves. I can only believe and hope that God knows each of our selves, often better than we do. God knows the little self left behind at an adoption; the self that would have been, the ones that become and ones that we try to deny. God gets the whole, integrated picture, even when we are disintegrated and more than a little fuzzy around the edges.
I commend my friend’s blog to you: http://thefunstons.com/?p=4808; do give it a read. In the meantime, this is why his words struck such a chord with me.
We grew up together. Our memories were forged on the anvil of the other, but the last time I met him, I didn’t recognize their shape or substance. It wasn’t that he remembered things differently, but that he carried different memories. It was as though a traveller from a parallel universe had stumbled into our world; he was a changeling.
It is hopeless and unfair to expect one who has not experienced harm to repent of it or to forgive it. And how can one who remembers no rift be reconciled? Nothing is any longer shared, nor can anything come between us.
A friend, wiser and more practiced in compassion than I, suggested that, in the absence of real memories, he had been free to create them in his own self-image. This, then, was the person he would choose to be: loving and faithful, happy, reliable, true and beloved. He didn’t choose power and influence; he did not choose wealth and worldly success; he was not cruel but kind; not selfish but generous. He did not even eschew grief; but he bore it honourably.
He chose the laughter of a child, and the touch of a lover, when he was freed from the fetters of reality to remember whatever he liked.
And who would be unkind enough to argue that this was not the person whom God had intended him to be all along?