Never is a very long time. I tell my children and couples whom I counsel to avoid saying it. How often do we truly mean it when we say “never?”
With the anniversary of 9/11 having come and gone, the sentiment of never forgetting that terrible day in 2001 was once again expressed around the world. The common understanding is that forgetting would be tantamount to dishonouring those who died that day.
After reading The End of Memory by Miroslav Volf,* I’ve begun wondering whether it may actually be preferable that someday we do indeed forget traumatic experiences such as the events of 9/11. What if one day forgiveness was extended and received between the West and the factions behind the terrorist attacks? What if one day there was reconciliation between North America and all the countries of the Middle East? With the horrors of 9/11 dealt with and reconciliation achieved, could not the memory of the day slowly fade from our collective consciousness, replaced with our gratitude and ongoing work for peace? Does anyone truly hope for this, or are we incapable of regarding such thoughts as anything but preposterous?
One day in the new heaven and the new earth, if North America and the Middle East still exist in some way, shape, or form, we can be guaranteed that there will be no hatred, violence, or death dividing the continents. With God’s help, couldn’t our countries and we as individuals begin working on that already today?
*See especially pp. 40, 134, 177, and 231 if you have the book.