Three stories that have reminded me how vital it is to remember people, to notice:
#1 Humans of NY has covered a middle school in a rough neighbourhood and raised over a million dollars for the middle school’s programs. My daughter noticed a lot of the donations were small, even $5, but collectively the impact has been significant. The story inspiringly unfolds visually and in the comments of students, educators, and administrators. Particularly, I was touched by Ms. Vidal’s, the principal, raw honesty. When she said, “And I read what Vidal said, and I began to read the comments. And tears started coming down my face. Because even though I always tell you that you matter, up until that moment, I didn’t feel like I mattered.” I hope you will go and read the entire powerful story. I just want to note two details that have struck deep chords in my heart.
1. Mrs. Lopez encouragement at being remembered by a student
2. Her strengthening came prior to the international outpouring of generosity
#2 This fall, while visiting the Jewish Heritage Museum, I was struck by a Jewish teenager’s letter to a young woman he met while on her holiday. Max Heller wrote, “I don’t know if you remember me . . .” She did; she helped him immigrate, and his life and his family were saved. Another photo exhibit of those in concentration camps, quoted a person who was strengthened when a small gift arrived because it told her she was not forgotten. In the midst of absolute, imaginable horror, being remembered brought hope.
#3 While speaking at a women’s retreat, the worship leader had the group sing this song:
I had not known this song. It’s lively and hopeful, but what makes the moment memorable was a woman joyfully using the cute hammers we were all given as a baton and full body getting into the song. I later learned that she had recently chosen to find a safe place for her and for her children, and life was challenging. She delighted in knowing her Heavenly Father knew her by name, saw her pain, and saw her next steps and provision even when she couldn’t.
I am just wondering if when we in small ways remember one another, we help one another remember the Heavenly Father’s remembering. We are not forgotten.
6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. 7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Luke 12:6-7 New International Version (NIV)
How do you remember people?