I have a hard time remembering.
It's not that I'm forgetful. I can remember important dates and tasks easily enough.
No, what I struggle to remember is much deeper than a doctor's appointment, a due date for a bill, or the name of an acquaintance.
I struggle every day to remember who I am.
Who I truly am.
What I'm here for.
What I'm even good for.
I let the junk and mire of life too easily define my days, keeping me locked in some kind of dark bottomless cage. That's what I struggle with.
On my good days, I learn to pay attention. I practice being grateful. My mind clears, and it's easier to remember.
To remember who I am.
Earlier this year I read a beautiful series of novels that deal with remembering who we are. It's called the Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson.
Wingfeather follows one family, and specifically three children, who in the face of darkness and despair struggle to remember who they are. They struggle to remember who their true father is. They live in exile, in a foreign land, and their father has died some years ago. They can't quite tell the difference between what is real and what is a fairy tale.
The character who struggles the most with remembering is Kalmar Wingfeather. I see myself in Kalmar so deeply. Someone of great promise, but someone who is dealing with darker demons. Kalmar is in a fight for his future, and a fight for his very soul.
Aren't we all?
(Wingfeather spoiler alert - read on at your own peril)
In this exchange from the third book, Kalmar is given a gift of a conversation with his Father - who is dead - but through a series of events has arrived for a short time to speak with his children. Kalmar is struggling to remember, just like me.
“Kalmar nodded. "I'm sorry, Papa. I wasn't strong enough."
"None of us are, lad. Me least of all." Esben smiled and took a rattling breath. "But it's weakness that the Maker turns to strength. Your fur is why you alone loved a dying cloven. You alone in all the world knew my need and ministered to my wounds." Esben pulled Kalmar closer and kissed him on the head. "And in my weakness, I alone know your need. Hear me, son. I loved you when you were born. I loved you when I wept in the Deeps of Throg. I loved you even as you sang the song that broke you. And I love you now in the glory of your humility. You're more fit to be the king than I ever was. Do you understand?"
Kalmar shook his head.
Esben smiled and shuddered with pain. "A good answer, my boy. Then do you believe that I love you?"
"Yes, sir. I believe you." Kalmar buried his face in his father's fur.
"Remember that in the days to come. Nia, Janner, Leeli - help him to remember.”
― Andrew Peterson, The Monster in the Hollows
"Help him remember."
Who helps you remember?
What practices do you do, what habits have you formed that help you remember?
I had a professor in graduate school who liked to tell a story of a pastor of hers who would remind church folks on Sunday that six days a week we're beaten up and tossed about by stories and narratives that tell us who we should be. Her pastor would say, "We come to church on Sunday to remember who we are.
To remember who we are.
So, today, I hope, I pray, and I invite you to remember.
Remember who you are.
You are a daughter, you are a son of the most high King, the living God of the universe.
You have been uniquely and wonderfully created in the image of the Divine.
You have gifts and a voice that we need to hear.
We're waiting for you.
We're better because you are here.
We're richer because of what you bring into the world.
You are here to bless the world, to both give and receive relationship and to rest in the easy love of Jesus.
Remember who you are.
Remember who you belong to.