The Power to Forget

Power to Forget
Power to Forget

The Power to Forget

One of the (few) things I know with great certainty about life, and hope to pass along to my kids, is that thing we’ve all fallen prey to at one point or another:  Love Blindness.  It’s really easy to be taken advantage of when you’re wearing the love blinders.  It’s one of my regular speeches.  The other night when I gave it at an opportune moment, Ezra chimed in with his two cents.  Or $47.

“Well yeah but it’s not just that you’re blind. It’s also that you maybe want to believe something is better than it really is, or that something isn’t as bad as it really is. It’s a way to make yourself think your life isn’t really a mess.”

I suppose I can stop giving that speech now.  He’s way beyond what I can teach him.

Later that same evening, he asked me if I’d come up with a new superpower yet.  (Any time one of the three of us comes up with a new superpower, we’re supposed to report it right away in detail.  I guess I’ve been slacking off on that…)  I reported that, sadly, I hadn’t anything new to report.  He had a new one:

“Imagine how amazing it would be if you had the power to make yourself forget.  Just inside yourself.  You could forget your worst fear.  Or a heartbreak.  Or the worst thing that ever happened to you.”

This was one of the few times that I had something to offer him on the subject, yet I did not go into detail.  I am often blessed with kind words about both of my kids-  how mature they are for their ages, wise beyond their years, etc.  There’s a reason they’re 30-something with only a decade-ish of experience.  Sometimes I want to tell him that he’s that ‘Soldier of Fate’ that Phil Vassar sings about.  After what he’s already been through, life will have little to challenge him with once he turns 18.  He knows this to some extent.  To another, he’ll realize it later in life.  I’m in no hurry to go into all that detail with him.

I wanted to say, “That would be an amazing superpower, Buddy, but those struggles are what shape who we are and how we deal with what life throws at us.  Erasing them from within might erase part of who we really are inside as well.”

Yet what he had said was too beautiful to in any way disagree with, even constructively.

Instead, I said, “Awesome.  If you figure out how to do that, please let me know.  It seems like no matter how much I do want to forget some things, they’re there permanently.  I could do without a few of them.”

He chuckled a little (he doesn’t have to guess which memories I was talking about…)  and was quiet for a while.

After a few minutes, he added, “I’d have to keep it a secret.  Most people would use it for evil.  They’d forget the bad things they’d done to other people, the things they hate about themselves, and what they did yesterday that they were ashamed of.  Most people would use it to become more evil instead of more good.”

I want to promise each and every one of you that if Ezra ever does find a way to create this superpower within himself, I will beg him not to tell a soul how to do it, not even me.  He’s the one person on this planet I would trust it with.  No others.  Not even me.

Some people become masters at lying to themselves.  Believing their own lies.  Making up excuses and reasons they had to do the things they did.  No fault of their own.  And therefore, they never make any effort to simply improve on who they are.  This is a personality type.  It has a tendency for self-destruction and spirals itself into disarray.

Some people learn from their mistakes, own their failings, and try hard to always improve on the things they make mistakes in.    They do their best to right their wrongs and even if they cannot salvage a broken situation, they learn from it so that it might not happen again.  This is a personality type.  It has a tendency to turn young children into superheroes.

I’m glad he has 4 more years before he doesn’t need me to drive him around anymore.  I hope that when he gets his license, he’ll still let me ride around with him and tell me stories all the while.  It would seem that even though he has my thick skull and strong will, he is much more adept at learning from life than I am.  I hope he never tires of teaching me.

Cheers from The Unforgotten

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