Not too many weeks ago, I was watching American Idol and Simon told one of the contestants that she was forgettable. Ouch… I hurt for her. What a terrible thing to say to someone…..I can’t remember her name but ….. Okay, I guess he proved his point… ugh.
I think it bothered me so much because I’ve been in that forgettable boat lately too…. twice on facebook and once in person. While shopping at the nearby Meijer one day I ran into a high school classmate. He passed right by me having no clue who I was. After I freaked him out by calling him by his name, he said with a smile, “Nancy, I haven’t thought about you in years” … Now you might be thinking that I’m going overboard with the whole forgettable thing with just that one comment but bear with me here….
Then on facebook, two of my guy friends who I spent time with and just adored in school … one even gave me a nickname and called me by it for years… well, they acted (or ” for realled”) as if they didn’t know who I was… I will have to say that my ego was completely bruised. I thought that all of these guys would have the same memories as my memories. I thought the one would automatically call me by my nickname again. I thought the other would have thought about the whole 8th grade crush thing because I was pretty obvious about it. Better yet, I thought the other would strike up conversations about the church events that we went to together or the pranks we played on others… I will have to say that I was disappointed to see all of their little chat conversations with others were way friendlier than those that they sent me…. I’m thinking they either truly don’t remember me or don’t remember how connected we were… or at least how connected I thought we were … No, I’m not playing the violin of pity (well, maybe a little) as I write this, because I realized that the American Idol girl and I are still not in this forgettable boat alone… this is not some little fishing boat… we are talking an enormous cruise boat… the SS Forgettable… large enough for everyone to get on board…
Pretty much what I’m getting at is that everyone is forgettable. Think about it…. can you name your great-grandmother’s maiden name? What about your great great great grandfather’s name? Do you know how many siblings your great grandmother had? What about a former President? Do you know the names of Abraham Lincoln’s children or at least the name of the one son that lived through adulthood? Okay all of this may sound pretty depressing or hopeless but hang in there… good stuff is coming….
Unless you have an extraordinary place in history (and even if you do, Mr. Lincoln) being forgettable is inevitable. In Genesis, the story of Joseph is told. He saves Egyptians and Israelites from lack of nourishment during a drought and is deemed a legend/hero and yet when you read the first few lines in Exodus you’ll see that a new king took the throne and didn’t know about Joseph… Joseph, pretty much a hero, was forgotten… it’s just going to happen… but there is some hope and some good here.
Luke 13 was part of my reading today… It begins with Jesus telling a parable about a tree and how the land owner tells the caretaker to cut down the tree that is bearing no fruit… the caretaker pleads with the owner for one more chance to help the tree produce at least once before it was cut down… the meaning? It is simple …..A tree that produces no fruit is forgettable… worthy of being chopped down… a tree that produces fruit lives on and on…and we are not talking a physical fruit tree but a spiritual one…
Makes you think about the fruit that you may or may not be producing…
I am a product of a person who was producing fruit…I won’t forget that tree nor the nourishment it gave… ever… and hopefully I will produce fruit too and nourish it in the same manner continuing the cycle…
So, we’re all forgettable … that’s what we are….. but our fruit always seems to remember where it came from… leave the forgettable to the naked trees and take advantage of the second chance…. go produce!
6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.‘ ”
March 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm
Nancy, this is an excellent and hard to read post. First, I’m so sorry that your feelings were hurt. I’ve been exactly there. And yes, we will all ultimately be forgotten. Maybe our point here is to impact one or two lives in such a way as to better the human condition, just a little, so that even though our NAME may be forgotten, our works will live on beyone us. Mother Teresa said that each poor person was “Jesus in disguise.” An act of kindness and compassion to a person in need will live on even though the name of the person who did it will not. A Benedictine monk whose work I read talks about being a working member of the Body of Christ Universal. As a member of the Body of Christ Universal, your name isn’t important, only that your mission is Christ-like. That’s way bigger than eighth grade crushes or FB. Much love and
March 24, 2009 at 11:23 pm
This is wonderful; However, you are not at all forgettable and neither am I. Our God who created us, planned for us, and sacrificed for us never forgets us. Each day we live and breath is a blessing, and each blessing is a reminder that he has not forgotten us at all!