Here lately I misplace things. And even worse, sometimes I intentionally put something somewhere thinking I will certainly remember where I put it when I need it and then can’t remember where it lays awaiting! This time last year in the spirit of giving, I hid a present I had bought for my loving wife and I forgot where I put it and much worse than that, I forgot what it was that I hid! But I do remember hiding something and apparently really well! It certainly will be a surprise for the both of us one day!
Perhaps in these days, I am more distracted with life and its’ buffet of stuff always distracting me. I may go into the garage to get something and then get distracted by a thought or a phone call or the wife’s instructions and return to the house empty handed. It seems so hard to stay on point! It appears that there are so many things that need some of my attention and it is just too hard to juggle them all. I struggle to prioritize all of them wisely.
Perhaps my brain is not getting enough oxygen from my blood or my serotonin level is low due to the amount of toxins my body has absorbed over the years as a working man, or there is a lack of sunlight my desperate body needs causing my neurotransmitters to misfire. These things of course could be to blame for my lack of memory.
Perhaps I am just taking for granted all the things I am doing because they have become routine and somewhat boring and I have become careless? Groundhog Day, over and over again, but at least as we age our routines change as our body’s age and even the misplacing of things or the absence of memory is a new adventure daily, free of charge!
Is there is a difference between forgetting and forgetting to be thankful? Maybe if we suffer most of lives with such a nasty disease as leprosy we may be a bit confused as to why now and on this day we were finally healed? (Luke 17:12-18) What about last week or last year and what about all those lepers that were not cleansed of their disease?
As I read the testimony offered by Hieromonk Synesios this week I was reminded of a benefit of suffering, yes, a benefit. The testimony speaks about an eighty year old man in his last days experiencing excruciating pain as cancer is devouring his body. And as each pain crescendoed like a summer storm violently shaking the earth, he praised God. Time after time, day after day! A patient nearby witnessing his last days clearly stated: God ‘does exist, my child, and He is also a most loving Father, because with all this illness and pain, He cleanses me from my many sins. If you had worked on some rough task, and your clothes and your body stank, would you not need a rough brush to clean all this dirt? Likewise, God is using this disease as a balm, as a beneficial cleansing for my soul, in order to prepare it for the Kingdom of Heaven’. ( Life Events/Life and Death and tagged dying and after life story, terminal cancer story.)
The Son of God when in the flesh suffered as well but His suffering was for our salvific benefit. Do we remember to give God thanks for the many cleansings we receive? St Mark the Ascetic writes: “Consider the outcome of every involuntary affliction, and you will find it has been the destruction of sin.”(SL 67) So I ask: Have we forgotten that we are not of this Earth and belong with Him in an unspoiled state? With each trial that comes our way, remember to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18) for God is working for our good and our eternity. (Romans 8:28)
Fr. Gabriel Weller 12-23-18