Memory is a funny and a faulty thing.
Am I memorable?
How many people have I passed and instantly forgotten on the street, in the store, on the road, or at the beach?
How many times have I looked up, offered and received a quick smile, then vanished from the mind of some cashier, salesperson, attendant, or nurse?
If I was to answer those questions with a realistic estimate, the numbers would undoubtedly be beyond my ability to comprehend at 11:45pm. Certainly, I can take on a quick Google search (a sacrifice of 5 or 6 seconds to the internet). I can read and research those educated guesses, assumptions, and suggested statistics that sing to the tune of 80,000-100,000+ individual human beings.
That would mean that I’ve been forgotten more than 75,o00 times.
I could ask the same kind of question, but from a radically different perspective. I could ask how many people I’ve encountered in my 20 years on this Earth who have come away happier because of my existence. I could ask how many separate, distinct paths have crossed and even intertwined with mine. I could try to measure the depth of the impact I’ve had on those others. I could test the level of importance I’ve had as a tool in the lives and memories of others.
Of course, I would fail at such a test, because who can measure the impact of him- or herself on the life of another? Who can say, “I changed your life for the better just by being in it, and you’re a different person than you would have been without me”?
Then you get into the concept of alternate timelines and parallel universes and all that jazz. And while I do enjoy a good and unproductive philosophical chat about the unanswerable questions every once in a while, it’s true that my mind is elsewhere at such a moment.
Instead, I’m imagining how great is our God, who orders the world and the heavens and time itself, bending and shaping the minutes and the hours and the centuries and millennia as little more than another tool in his arsenal.
A tool for what purpose, you ask? You don’t ask? Well, fine, but pretend that you asked. I need a smooth segue.
A tool for what purpose?
For the purpose of you. For the goal of bringing you, in all your shining amniotic-fluid-coated glory, into the world.
You are a puzzle piece in something so much bigger than yourself. Each of those 80,000-100,000 people serves also as a puzzle piece on that giant puzzle board that you can’t even begin to see.
Some pieces don’t fit together. Some pieces don’t have edges, and the connecting line between the two is a slippery, uncertain movement. Some pieces don’t look like they go together, but then you place one near the other and the color suddenly matches up perfectly in an ombre shading of light to dark to darker. Some pieces are placed together early, some late. But no matter what, we’re all puzzle pieces set to create the most beautiful tapestry of God’s plan.
Yes, I’ve been forgotten.
But I’ve also been remembered. Many times. I’ve made and been a part of many memories which I would count more precious than a thousand thousand passing smiles and nods at strangers, valuable though those may be. I hope to remember and be remembered for many years and decades to come.