Hi – I’m Lucy. I’m slap bang in the middle of my thirties and am, among other things, a guinea pig owner, stationery lover, serial procrastinator, sporadic gardener, theology-degree holder, wife of a Baptist minister, magazine editor, enthusiastic speaker and … writer.I used to think I wanted to be a writer because it was what I was good at doing, or perhaps because it was what I enjoyed doing. There came a point when I realised I need to be a writer. Even when I’m not good at it. Even when I don’t enjoy it. Because writing is how I think, how I learn, even how I communicate with God most of the time. Without it, I stagnate. My faith becomes flimsy and forgetful.
I wrote Forgetful Heart: Remembering God in a Distracted World because I needed to write it. It was my own journey, my own attempt at self-awakening, my own pursuit. I am the most distracted person I know. One day I realised that the things I thought I’d never forget were becoming harder to remember. I looked at past memories written down and realised I’d let them decay to such an extent that the written record surprised me. Did that happen? I have no memory of it.
How could I have forgotten – to such a degree as this?
It’s not that I never think about things. It’s just that I tend to fill my mind with so many things, that much of it gets lost. Unfortunately, sometimes I remember the trivial and forget the important. Our world is packed full of trivialities – not necessarily harmful in themselves, but they push out the bigger stuff, the stuff I want to remember. I end up splish-splashing in the shallow end and never venturing into the depths of life.
But I crave the depths; I always have. That is the contradiction that lies within me – a desire to reflect, to explore and to understand, coupled with a distracted, fragmented, often depressed part of me which burrows into the trivial and neglects the profound. A kind of grief opens up inside me, as I realise how far – or perhaps how little – I have travelled.
“I’m so glad I’m not the only one!” – a woman’s words, after hearing me speak at the informal book launch held at my church. Forgetful Heart is for all those who worry that they are ‘the only one’. The only one who forgets to pray, reflect, read the bible; the only one who gets chewed up by guilt over forgetting; the only one whose mind is pulled in every exhausting direction.
Distraction can be exhausting. As someone who struggles with chronic fatigue, I feel this acutely. And the more exhausted we are, the more distracted we become, as things like discipline, focus and self-control demand more energy than we have.
The world doesn’t help; we’re bombarded by sound and image and information. Life often becomes all about keeping busy, ticking off the things on our ‘to-do’ lists, achieving this and then that –because we’re told achievement gives us value. At least, that’s what’s implied.
Forgetful Heart tries to strip all this away to reveal the essential truth – our identity lies in Christ and what he has done for us. By reflecting on this, we can remember him not just with our words but our whole lives. I emphasise that despite the extent of our forgetfulness (and mine is severe), our God never forgets us. By the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, we can remember who we are and who we are called to be.