Today is September 11th. 11 years ago a tragedy to the human race as thousands died in one event for no apparent reason. Since then a phrase has been floating around: “Never forget.” This is not a new or unique idea. When we went to Jerusalem the main thing I cared about seeing was Yad Vishem – The Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust. We walked through exhibit after exhibit of images, videos and artifacts from the most vivid atrocity in human history. Two things stood out to me. A stack of shoes. And a video of a bulldozer moving dead bodies like they were a stack of dirt. The museum culminates at the end when you walk into a room and you are surrounded by books that have the names of people who were murdered in the Holocaust. The room was dedicated to the memory of the people and devotion to never forgetting their loss. It was walking into this room that I cried for the first time because above the door post was a verse from Isaiah in Hebrew and english. It said:
“And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a “yad vashem”)… that shall not be cut off.”
(Isaiah, chapter 56, verse 5)
This is God talking to his people saying “even though you have busy lives, even though you reach capacity of what you can mentally handle, even though there are millions of unique individuals, even though life goes on and more tragedies happen, even though you get obsessed with yourselves and new fleeting moments, I do not. And I will remember. I have created a memorial, so personal that it has a name, for each of you and I will never forget.”
This last year we had a miscarriage. In the aftermath Kami and I were trying to find value in ourselves and give value to the life of the baby by saying that “we will never forget.” We were reminded of the verse in Isaiah. There is a God that is more powerful than we are and he knows our child more intimately and permanently than we ever will. And he says that HE will never forget. That’s enough. That’s more than we could ever do or ask for. And it gives us the freedom from making promises that we can’t keep. It’s ok to forget.
ps. For my birthday in July my friend Colin recorded this song for me that he had written. I’ve been listening to it non stop. It’s titled “You call me by name.” It speaks to the personalization and care of a powerful God. I’ve been looking for an excuse to share it so others could listen and download.