16 Sep 2022
Contrary to the idea that the older you get, the more you forget, it has never been my experience. I have forgotten things for as long as I can remember. I even forget things that never actually happened.
It runs in our family, though it came to me legitimately down through the generations. A nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.
As a young person, I was quite fascinated with uncle Fred. Everybody who knew him called him Sir Forgets-A-Lot. At the time, I didn’t know what they were talking about because good old uncle Fred seemed like a very nice guy.
I remember once spending a whole day with him working on his farm. I forget what we were doing, but we spent our time together. He told me one funny story after another, and I enjoyed them all.
Finally, I had come to the point of asking him about his nickname.
“Uncle Fred, why do they call you Sir Forgets-A-Lot?”
He looked at me, laughed, sat down and began explaining the situation. I was eager to hear the story from his perspective.
“Well,” he said as he began his story, “it’s basically because I do forget a lot of things.” And then he laughed.
He went on and on about forgetting people and situations and everything. As I was listening to him, I began chuckling on the inside. I was chuckling because I knew he was making up the story as he went along. I forget how I knew that.
Then he said something that sort of stumped me.
“Son,” he said with a very serious tone of voice, “sometimes the best thing you can do is to forget something.”
Looking at him, I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about, and then he continued.
“Sometimes, you can make up a story when you forget something, and people don’t know the difference.”
At that time, I saw him staring off into space with a great big grin on his face. I knew he was thinking of something, but I didn’t know if he would tell me the truth or not.
“It’s much easier to deal with people when you can say, ‘I’m sorry I just forgot.’”
Then he explained that people understand that everybody forgets something at some time. And when you confess to forgetting something, he explained, people take you seriously, and they are eager to forgive. I can live with forgiveness.
Then he gave me some illustrations.
“I’m sorry I didn’t show up at your birthday party; I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t send you that money; I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
I began to understand why anybody who knew uncle Fred called him Sir Forgets-A-Lot. He got out of trouble whenever he was in trouble by confessing that he had forgotten about it.
After spending the day with uncle Fred, I wasn’t quite sure that he was as forgetful as most people thought. So whenever he would tell me one of those stories, he would look at me, smile and wink.
He didn’t forget anything; he was simply manipulating people at the time. The great part was that very few people, maybe I’m the only one, ever knew what he was doing.
I thought about him for a while, and the more I thought about him, the more I began to understand what he was talking about. So no matter what problem he was in, he could solve that problem by saying, “I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
As a surviving relative of Sir Forgets-A-Lot, I have learned to handle situations in my life that I did know how to handle before. Uncle Fred taught me a lot. I’m not sure, but I’ve come very close to being crowned the Sir Forgets-A-Lot of this generation.
Uncle Fred passed away a few years back, and I can’t forget him. I now know why he was always smiling, and I am interested in what he was teaching me. Whether he was teaching me intentionally or not, I am becoming a grade A student.
The test of all this is in front of The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She never knew uncle Fred, and I have yet to tell her his story. Some things are better forgotten, if you know what I mean.
I’ve been trying to perfect my forgetting skill as best I can. I still have some work to do, but I’m busily engaged in my strategy of forgetting.
When I come against The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, I must understand that she never forgets anything. In fact, I have suspected on many occasions that she remembered something that never actually happened. I have never addressed that in front of her. That’s why I’m a happy husband.
Being as old as I am, it is a handy tool to use, particularly with The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She can’t forget anything. And there is nothing in life that I can’t forget.
She will often query me by stating, “Did you remember….?” I always reply, “I’m sorry, my dear, I just forgot. Please forgive me.”
Forgetting is not just the blessing of old age, it’s just a blessing.
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
Even God exercises the blessing of forgetting, for which I am so grateful.