I received a call from my older brother the other day, inquiring me about the usual stuff – whether I’m alright and that I should call home just to cheer up our parents. He also mentioned that our eldest sister was constantly upset and that she focused her anger on our Mum. Admittedly life is becoming quite hard in Indonesia so it is quite a challenge to balance your budget in the midst of increasing prices. On top of that, she also has to renovate her run-down house. My sister also sent me an email, confirming about the situation back in Indonesia, and that she’s arranging a get-together while I’m in Indonesia – a time for prayers and reconciliation.
That got me thinking that we have such a short-term memory. Nearly five months ago, we were all lamenting the loss of our youngest brother. We provided a united front in expressing our love and grief. Even then, there were moments where our hot-tempered nature flared up. Now, we are back to square one – I heard that my siblings back in Indonesia continue to squibble over the most trivial of things. Yes, I come from a family of hot heads. Some have managed to tone down our emotions and learn to control them, some decide to let them loose and deal with the consequences later.
It’s a pity really – I wrote earlier that we don’t realise what we have until it’s gone. The loss of my brother has made me think that it’s such a waste of life to go through it with negative feelings. It’s true that I have to cope with the uncertainty at work and the fact that I have lost a brother – but if I go through life feeling negative or upset, then I would’ve wasted my life too. I have a limited time while I’m in this rickety mortal body.
The shortness of our memory is a paradox. On one hand it provides a blessing – imagine if we keep on remembering every past actions of our friends and loved ones, we may not love them as much if we hammer on the things that they did five, ten years ago. On the other hand, I sometimes wish I could remember the things that made me laugh and feel happy so many years ago, the contentment of lying safely in my bed when I was a child, the silly little games that I used to play with my brother.
Someday, I believe that we will not have to deal with our short-term memory – we will have perfect memory, perfect joy, perfect love – when we meet God and our loved ones one day in the yonder. Till then, we just need to deal with the short-term memory and the challenges that life throws at us!