I was unwinding in the hot and heavily scented water of my bath the other evening. I literally felt the stress flowing out of my muscles. It was sheer delight and wanton luxury. However, lest I offend a hapless reader let me pause there! The bath is really incidental.
It had started with the normal frustration of realising I had forgotten to remove my spectacles. I only remembered when lifting cupped hands of hot water to me face I collided with my glasses frame, now precariously perched upon my nose. No damage done. However, the frustration was less the fact that I had left them on than the fact that, once again, I had neglected to remove them.
Again somewhat of an unreasonable emotional reaction to something so insignificant. Yet here I was ‘stressing out’ over my lapse of memory,'stressing' over an irrelevance and only increasing the number of reasons I was taking a relaxing bath in the first place.
Now if the very action embraced to reduce stress becomes in and of itself a source for further muscle tension what’s the point?
Well this is not the point. I got to thinking as I was soaking. Why are we so harsh upon ourselves when we are forgetful? I notice it in older people all the time, forgetting names, locations, TV programne details and the like. All of no real import save in the eye of the oublieux. Yet often creating quite an acute and negative personal reaction within them. So here I was getting older and more forgetful and more stressed, fulfilling the stereotype - now that is not a good idea!
Then the moment of realisation. This art of forgetting is in fact not a curse but a sign of emerging spiritual maturity. It is in fact what I have now named the ‘Lost Discipline of Forgetfulness’. And before I receive too many criticisms it is quite evident as such.
Those followers in the way of Jesus will be familiar with the fact that God both forgives and forgets our shameful acts of disobedience. Hebrews 8:12 is explicit in this regard - ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more’.
If this is the practice of the triune God than I guess it is something I too must master. Both forgive and forget my momentary lapses of memory and travel on celebrating the forgetfulness as a sign of spiritual growth.
Forgetfulness as a spiritual discipline is something I shall now practice vigorously! I shall celebrate each memory loss and respond with a smile.
Now where did I put those glasses? I do believe I am beginning to laugh!!