I suffer from significant memory loss due to several months of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). I have no memory of events that took place during that time and limited memories before or after. Some of the memory loss is trivial such as what took place on my favorite TV shows. Others are more significant – it’s hard for me to learn new things. Then there are the mixed blessings. I’m generally a nice person. I avoid confrontation. I’m truly trying to be the best, most loving person I can be but I’m human. Let’s face it, I can be a bitch! When attacked, I respond. When pushed too far, I go for the jugular. I don’t always know the whole story and jump to conclusions. The interesting thing is now that I’m dealing with memory loss, I don’t remember arguments. I don’t remember insults or misunderstandings. I don’t remember most of the hurtful things I’ve said. I was in major fights with people but I forgot. I know of six separate people (at least), spanning over years, that I was in serious arguments with. I said hurtful things – and was hurt in return – but I don’t remember them. I apologize for my slights but I don’t remember what those slights are.
One argument I didn’t remember at all until I came across an old email and read about it. I don’t remember the fight, the cause or even writing the email. It’s gone. When I saw the email, I sent an apology to her – like I said I try to be loving and am willing to take responsibility for unloving choices. She forgave me but apologies aren’t really apologies if you don’t take responsibility and change your behavior. I’m willing to accept responsibility but I can’t provide closure since I don’t remember what I did wrong so I can’t promise not to do it again. Because of this, some hold onto the hurt I caused because nothing’s changed for them. Even though I apologize for any hurt I caused, I can’t apologize for the specific act because I don’t remember.
Another argument involved a family member I hadn’t spoken in years but then I forgot. She was on the phone with my mother one day and I yelled out, “Love you!”. She forgave me and we’ve been in touch ever since. We never spoke of the argument, we just moved on. Another family member was not so forgiving. Our relationship still hasn’t healed even after my apologies but there’s nothing more I can do. No matter how hard I try or how hard I want, I don’t remember.
It makes me think this is how God treats our sins: He doesn’t remember. We can go forward and release any pain we feel because He has taken care of it. We can hold onto the hurts we’ve faced or dealt with but we don’t have to. We can scream, “Love you!” and move forward from there
I’m told I’m happier now. I’m free from resentments that weighted me down now that I don’t remember all the hurts. I’m free from the guilt and from the anger. I move forward knowing I am loved and forgiven by the one who truly matters and I strive to show that love and forgiveness to others. It’s hard, not remembering. I get frustrated and worried about what else I’ve forgotten but there’s nothing left for me to do. I can ask forgiveness when I’m made aware of my shortcomings and rest in God’s love when the discord remains.
Psalm 103: 11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.