Have you seen the movie 50 First Dates? My reflection this week arose from watching the movie so I’ll try to summarize in case you haven’t seen it. In the movie, a young woman, Lucy, is in an accident on her father’s birthday. She sustains a brain injury that results in her inability to move short-term memory to long-term. It means that every day she wakes up thinking it’s her father’s birthday day. She has her long-term memory from before the accident, so she knows who people are and has memories from before her accident. But each day she only remembers from morning till she goes to sleep; once she sleeps she forgets that day. A young man, Henry, meets Lucy and is interested in her. He’s confused at first why she doesn’t seem to know him the second time they meet, but he soon learns her story. Lucy’s father and brother try to make Lucy’s life easier by pretending every day was what she thought it was: her Dad’s birthday. They re-enact the day over and over and over. Henry has a different idea. He makes a video for her to play at the beginning of the day. The video goes over the major events that have happened since the accident, including meeting him. Each day, Lucy wakes up and watches the video and learns about her life since her memory loss. Together they create a document to go with the video. Lucy journals her experiences each night before sleep so she can read it the next day and be reminded of all the things she’s done but forgotten; Henry adds his voice. The document has a title page: “Read Me.” It’s a romance movie, so of course, Henry wins her over, every day, again and again. A significant line in the movie is spoken by a friend of theirs as she hears what Henry has been doing for months. She says (something like), “Wait, so you set out to have Lucy fall in love with you again every day?” Yes, Henry sets out to woo Lucy every single day because she has no history to rely on, no memory of past acts of kindness, no foundation of shared experiences; he intends to win her over every day.
Why am I telling you about this movie? Well, while I was floating in the pool in Manitou, I was thinking about relaxing into God’s love, as I shared last week. And then the Spirit reminded me of this movie (I had watched it the night before). I contemplated on God as Henry and me as Lucy.
Can I believe that God woos me? Can I believe that “mercies new every morning” is God willing to start over every day? Every day God greets me in the morning with our whole history together fresh to mind. As the dawn breaks and the waking hours begin, God knows I’m the one. I’m the one chosen before the foundations of the world were laid. I’m the one loved beyond measure, created from the same stuff as stars. I’m the one worth dying for, the one worth living for. I’m the one blessed by the sweet, sustaining presence of the Spirit, familiar with the warmth and unhurried cadence of her voice. I’m the one God chooses to pursue and woo with advances of love and tenderness.
And I’m the one who forgets.
I forget the fervour of God’s love for me. I forget that I’m known and cherished. I forget that I’m chosen. I forget the times God has stood up for me, stood in for me. I forget the myriad ways that God has interwoven our lives together. I forget the flowers, the warm spring breeze, the buzz of bees, the flash of lightning, the life-giving rain. I forget the call from a friend at just the right moment, the words of encouragement I read when I needed them. I forget that I love my job, that I love people, that I love to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly. Every damned day I forget.
And every glorious day God starts over, reminding me who I am. Every day God sets out to have me fall in love, like God is in love with me. Every Day, God patiently starts at the beginning, telling me the story of our life together, our love for one another.
And every blessed day I remember.
I’m putting together a Read Me document for myself. So far it has my paraphrases of pieces of Romans 8 and Ephesians 1.
Good morning, Hadley! Jesus here. You may have forgotten some stuff about our life together, so I thought I’d remind you of the important bits as you start your day. We’re part of a very close-knit family; Father, Mother, you and I do pretty much everything together. We love you so much that we had a great time planning your adoption. You’re part of the family! You think you met me first because Dad sent me to you. But really, we’ve known you since before the universe was even created. When we were setting stars on fire and putting planets into orbit, we were thinking of you. We wanted to love you first so you’d never wonder if you were lovable. We thought about you while we were creating all the cool stuff you’re discovering on earth. I came to earth to be with people and show them all about my family, but it was before you were born. We haven’t met face to face yet, but we spend a lot of time heart to heart. I died when I was just 33 years old, which sounds terrible, but I had some stuff to do for a bit. After a few days, I came back to life. Doing that is what makes it possible for us to live every day heart to heart, so it was totally worth it. I love being with you, doing what you love to do, hearing what you have to say. You’re my favourite person!
I’m not the only one here with you. Spirit Mother is here too. She loves you so much! She is always talking you up; I mean ALWAYS. When I talk to her, we always talk about how great you are because that’s like her favourite thing to talk about. She’s over the moon about how you’re doing, who you are, what you’re like. She’s your number one fan for sure!
As you start your day, know that you’re part of an inseparable family. Father, Mother and I love you so, so much. NOTHING that happens today will change that. We’re with you all day, all the way. Go out and do your thing, you amazing person, you!