Prompt: What I Wish I Could Forget

I wish I could forget that I have felt powerless before and didn’t know how to fight

Except, if I did, then I might not be as sensitive to those who have been similarly challenged.

I wish I could forget that I have sometimes been insensitive and unkind

Except, if I did, then I might not be as forgiving of others who display that same behavior.

I wish I could forget some of the hurtful memories related to my childhood

Except, if I did, then I might not be as forgiving of myself as a parent.

I wish I could forget the sting of insults I have occasionally received

Except, if I did, then I might not try to be as careful with my own words.

I wish I could forget the pain of the mass shootings in our country

Except, if I did, I might not be so adamantly opposed to semi-automatic weapons

I wish I could forget the horror of watching George Floyd’s murder

Except, if I did, I might not be as aware of systemic racism.

I wish I could forget heartbreaking stories of rape and sexual abuse I have heard in my life

Except, if I did, then I might not be as strong an advocate for women’s rights.

I wish I could forget the images of the people in India right now suffering from Covid,

Except, if I did, then I might not be as sensitive to people in pain around the world.

I wish I could forget the slave ships, the lynching trees, and the Jim Crow laws that have brutalized Black Americans since our country’s inception

Except, if I did, then I might not be as aware of injustice.

I’ve never considered before how important remembering can be

Not to relive pain or to become immobilized by the horrors of this world

But rather to celebrate my connection to others who have suffered .

Through connection comes greater awareness which leads to healing

Never, not once, have I thought in good terms about those things that I’d rather forget

Until writing down my thoughts today.

What a soul-lifting surprise

To discover I do not want to forget these experiences

Because they each contribute to bringing me closer to all members of humankind.

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