I Remember Now ~ Life is Knowing. Forgetting. Remembering ~ Pastor Tim Tengblad Post 70
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar.
Not in entire forgetfulness do we come
From God who is our home.
Heaven lies about us in our infancy.
William Wordsworth “Ode on Initiations: Recollections of Early Childhood”
In my 71 trips around the sun, I have observed that Wordsworth had it right in his lovely poem. This life is a kind of knowing, forgetting, and (hopefully) a remembering.
Life is knowing.
Life on earth begins with a certain kind of knowing. This knowing was within our soul when it incarnated. We can see it in the little ones around us. We see it in their innocence, unconditional love, wonder, and joy. Coming from the One(ness), they mysteriously bring us together, despite our differences. Adults who have been here for awhile, and have become attached to their labels of politics, religion, race, and culture, become an instant community around these little ones. If only for a few precious moments. It’s as if the children say to us, “We can put all of that into perspective for you!”
Life is forgetting.
Wordsworth goes on to write:
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
In our first trip or two around the sun we must begin the necessary journey of discovering the separate “me.” A forming of “us” and “them.” Of “those people.” “this is mine,” and “I can do it myself.” If we are to make it in this world, it must be so, as we spend those middle years of our lives accomplishing and gathering for ourselves what we, at least think, we need. All perfectly normal and human, but in the process, the natural connections we came here knowing as little ones, become blocked and fade away.
The middle years can play a certain trick on us. We try and turn dependence into independence, and often believe we’ve actually pulled it off. We try and turn vulnerability into self-sufficiency. That natural sense of wonder that accompanied us here is replaced with what we now perceive as “common day.”
We make our mistakes that cover up our innocence.
Life can be a remembering.
Remembering our Truth visits us from time to time in those middle years. Most of the time it comes when we least expect it, or want it. It comes when we are vulnerable, feel defeated, and left wide open to life.
And now, as my body ages, I am reminded every day of just how true that is. But if we choose to age in a way that opens us, we experience a returning which can bring a deeper remembering. The masks of our illusions are removed, and we can see again the true face of reality. Self-sufficiency is unmasked to reveal a vulnerability that was always there. Personal accomplishment can be seen again for what it always was. Pure grace. We can remember that “us” and “them” was only the “us” we knew back on the playground.
Our wonder at life that we knew as a child, can return in wonder at the life we have been graced to live. And we can be freed to walk lighter, as we did when we were a child. We can let go of what we spent decades grasping and holding onto in those middle years of illusion, and can once again, simply BE. And all the forgetting we’ve done, only makes the remembering that much sweeter, and transforming.
If we so choose.
Pastor Tim Tengblad