They say that it is human to forget — or to want to forget — because it allows us to go on with life despite all the bad experiences in the past. It is tempting, but I refuse to erase the bad memories. 2013 was a challenging year for Daddy A and I — we were tested in our careers, our marriage and even in raising our children. It was a challenging year for the Philippines, too, with the calamities and corruption issues that struck us. But, with a brand new year ahead, do I — we — want to forget and just move on? Move on, yes. Forget, no.
As Elie Wiesel wrote in Hope, Despair and Memory:
Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered. New Year’s Day, Rosh Hashana, is also called Yom Hazikaron, the day of memory. On that day, the day of universal judgment, man appeals to God to remember: our salvation depends on it. If God wishes to remember our suffering, all will be well; if He refuses, all will be lost. Thus, the rejection of memory becomes a divine curse, one that would doom us to repeat past disasters, past wars.
I don’t want to forget the hurdles because although they were painful, stressful and almost worthy of erasure from my memory, lessons came with those challenges. Important life lessons that I would not have learned if I did not go through such ordeals. Allow me to quote from Elie Wiesel’s essay once again:
Job, our ancestor. Job, our contemporary. His ordeal concerns all humanity. Did he ever lose his faith? If so, he rediscovered it within his rebellion. He demonstrated that faith is essential to rebellion, and that hope is possible beyond despair. The source of his hope was memory, as it must be ours. Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.
I will remember, I will move on and I will be hopeful… despite the challenges and controversies that go with our chosen careers; despite being deceived by those I love and trust; despite all the hurtful words; despite the calamities we, as a country, have gone through in just a span of a year… I will be hopeful.
This is why I chose HOPE to be my word for 2014. Yes, 2013 was a big challenge — personally AND country-wide, but I am grateful. I am happy that I got through the year — tired, broken down and wounded, but stronger and wiser than ever. And I am hopeful for a better year and I trust that God will be with me and my family in whatever this new year will bring.
What’s is your 2014 word of the year?