There are occasions in our lives, when our emotions are so powerful, our pain so strong or our work so difficult, that we are certain we will remember it forever. Every detail is etched on our minds and hearts, and we know we could never forget.
We do remember for a while. And then the memory fades, allowing us to put the experience behind us - perhaps to even grow from it - and move on with our lives.
It's a blessing, really.
During one such time in my life, we were asked to temporarily host a ten year old boy with some serious issues. He stayed with us for three weeks before he had to be placed in the psychiatric ward of the hospital.
I don't remember a lot about those weeks. I don't think I want to. But I do remember that it was more physically and emotionally draining than I ever imagined it could be, and that it took a tremendous toll on everyone in the family and turned our lives upside-down.
I remember how I felt so sad that he ended up in the hospital despite all our efforts to keep him out; and at the same time, so relieved to have my life back.
And after it was all over, I remember telling a friend how this was the most difficult three weeks of my life.
Looking back, I don't know that it was. I've had other challenges that were at least as difficult, if not more so. But time passed. I forgot...and I healed. And those other things didn't seem so hard anymore.
With time, the same thing happened with this. I thought I'd never undertake anything like this ever again. But when I was recently asked to have a boy in my son's class stay with us for a few days, I agreed. The memories of that ordeal have faded, the hardships have dimmed. I can hardly remember why I found it so excruciating.
Meanwhile, those few days are stretching into weeks, and he's still with us.
It's a funny thing, the mind.
The heart, too.
There are times I've been so hurt...in so much pain...I didn't know if I could ever heal.
But time passed. The hurt faded. And sometimes, when I look back, I almost can't remember what it was that hurt so intensely. Almost.
When that happens, I am finally able to judge favorably; to try to see things from another point of view. Maybe even forgive.
It's a blessing.