"To be forgotten is a thing most natural and certain."
The above words were said by Lynda Ye, the acclaimed lyricist of Taiwan's singing group Heavenly Melody. I heard her say it during an interview, and I have pondered upon the words ever since.
To be forgotten by people is firstly natural...people do not need to intentionally forget you. They just do. It is nothing offensive, because it is natural. And it is not surprising, because it is natural. As life moves on, people will find their own places and lifestyles...and some things or individuals simply will be forgotten...naturally...
Then to be forgotten is also certain...there is no escaping it. Some people might try hard to force the memory of themselves upon others. Some others might mourn the loss of attention. Yet it is all very matter-of-fact. It is only a matter of time...for to be forgotten is certain...
And as I stand at the threshhold of separation from all I have dearly loved in my life...as well as the people who love me most, these thoughts impact me heavily.
In the weeks leading up to my departure from the Philippines almost one week ago (for the sake of academic pursuit here in the States), people have showered me with much love. I was too touched for words as I discovered how God has blessed me with love way beyond I could ever deserve. From church deacons, to distant relatives, to childhood bosom friends, to faithful ministry partners, and everything in between...I have been blessed with love...and I reciprocate the affections as much as I could.
Yet in the midst of the pleas that I should return to the Philippines, and that I shouldn't forget the people back home...Miss Ye's words echo in my mind..."To be forgotten is a thing most natural and certain."
I should not count upon it...as much as I would like to think that my students would still adore me, that my best friends would still be intimate with me, that those who care for me would still be consistent in their affections when I return...I know it won't be the same.
As life goes on for everyone...to a particular degree...I will surely be forgotten...
So then, if that is the fact...what of it? How should I face this tragedy of natural and certain consequence? What should I do about being forgotten?
In her interview, Miss Ye made the quoted statement in reference to her departure from on-stage performance. Once she turned to serving backstage, she had to learn to be forgotten. Yet for her, she could still find joy in the midst of the process, because she knew she was serving God. And God knew all that was going on in her service and life...and even if people forget, God would be leased.
Her attitude gave me the courage to face this idea of losing the love formerly bestowed upon me.
It is the Lord Christ whom I serve. Even if people forget...I have not lost my direction in life.
Yes, students might grow independent of me, friends might continue life with their own pursuits, ministry roles might be filled with new people, admirers might easily change their fancies, and my family and church will continue to thrive in life without me...
It is all both humbling and comforting to know. Yes, life will move on without me, and I will eventually lose the significance that I had. Yet when it is Christ whom I am serving, then I don't need to worry.
I can still pray for people across the miles; God can answer.
I can still faithfully seek my Lord; He will listen.
I can still trust in His perfect plans for me...even when others have forgotten.
To be forgotten might seen a horrible thought at first...yet well...it is natural and certain. And when we have our hopes upon Him who is even more certain, then life will go on for everyone in His perfect time, in His perfect ways. All I need to do is to remember what really matters.
What matters is my spiritual walk with my Lord. What matters is that I continue to grow in contentment within, in knowledge of, and in obedience to my God.
Yes, I will be forgotten...yet what of it? Perhaps, as someone with so much self-awareness, to be forgotten is actually a very, very good thing.
Life will go on, and I must find my place in it. Yet no matter what particulars that "place" might involve...I already have my most fundamental identity and duty as a child of God. That is what matters, and well...that's all that needs to be remembered. Everything else...might as well be forgotten...