The Bad Memory Dumping Ground: A Tale of Two Toothbrushes

A Tale of Two Toothbrushes with toothbrush imageI refuse to admit how infrequently my bathroom is cleaned. It’s never so bad that they could make a reality TV show about it, but it has sunk lower on my to-do list in the last years while I haven’t felt well for various and sundry reasons.

And those begins my tale of woe….

Good News! A Good Health-Kinda Day

It was on one of my “good” days that I decided to take a break from my online work to take care of my home and get a bit of exercise. I zipped into the bathroom on a cleaning expedition to scrub the toilet and sink. The faucet and handles of the sink were a bit grungy, so I grabbed an old toothbrush from underneath the vanity sink. I enthusiastically scrubbed, cleaned around the handles, and then pulled out the sink stopper to give it an extra-good cleaning all the way down into sink’s drain pipe. Then I rinsed off all the cleanser and returned to my computer, patting myself on the back for a job well done.

And Then…the Bad News

Later, MUCH later (since I’m such a night-owl), I headed in to brush my teeth and get ready for bed. I didn’t turn the bathroom light on, just brushed my teeth in the soft light glowing in from the hallway. As I set the brush down and looked for the dental floss, I became disoriented. Where was the dish the dental floss lives in? That rough pottery dish my daughter made should have been right there on the counter, but it wasn’t.

Hah – I remembered! I’d cleared off the counter while cleaning. There was the  shallow terra-cotta dish, off to the side in a basket.  But just as I picked up the container of dental floss, I saw it – my toothbrush. My real toothbrush. The one I hadn’t just used to brush my teeth. Which meant the brush I’d just used was…..yea. It was THAT one. The one I’d used to so thoroughly clean the sink.

I closed my mouth tight (so I wouldn’t lose anything), picked up the-toothbrush-I-shouldn’t-have-brushed-with by the very tippy-end of the handle using just two fingers (not wanting to touch it or look at it too closely) and dropped it into the trash can.

Can I Just Erase This Memory???

Then I took my real toothbrush and re-brushed my teeth for a really, really long time. Next I rinsed with a large quantity of mouthwash for another extended period of time. Then I tied up the little trash bag, picked it up between my thumb and forefinger, as though barely holding the bag would encourage my mind to barely hold on to the memory, and marched it quickly to the trash can. 

Good-by forever, dreaded horror!  

You know, throwing out that toothbrush didn’t make much sense. It was still useful for cleaning. Brushing my teeth with it only made it cleaner, not unclean and unfit for cleaning. But I just couldn’t bear to look at it and be reminded of where it had been before it had been in my mouth.

Which made me think…

Wouldn’t life be much easier if we could take painful incidents, the large and the small, and just drop them into a trash can like I dropped that toothbrush? What would it be like if we could send those memories far away from us to the Bad Memory Dumping Ground?

Ah! If only there was a Bad Memory Dumping Ground!

The Trash of Forgetting

We’ve all experienced many things in life that we’d love to drop into the Trash of Forgetting. Sometimes mistakes echo consequences in our lives and the lives of those we love. Harsh words explode and linger in the air, we say “yes” when we should’ve said “no,” or “no” when we should’ve said “yes.”  There are BIG MISTAKES and little mistakes we make all the time. We sin, we hurt someone, we forget, we don’t do something we should have done.

We learn to live with our mistakes, with the imperfections that offend others and ourselves even as we struggle to overcome them. Our years of memories sometimes sting a bit as we recall them and it’s not possible to thoroughly eradicate them. However, we do need to work to surrender these little stings to God; to offer them to him as little sacrificial gifts offered up to him in love. We can offer them for any intention and in our offering they become little nuggets of gold, of precious value to God when we offer them with love. We pray, offer, grow and we learn to experience these little twinges of memory without anger or resentment, or at least with less anger and resentment.

Our God Makes All Things New

As the fruit of much prayer and meditation with Christ, we are finally able to allow God’s grace and peace to overrun even those little moments of pain. Sometimes this miraculous transformation can happen in a moment and sometimes it takes many moments, hours, or years of prayer. But we persist and hold onto hope, for God is at work in your soul whether we feel it or not.

Our God is the reason for our hope, he is the source of our life. And as we allow him, he is ever recreating us in his image. Remember, Jesus Says to Us:  “Behold, I make all things new.”  Revelations 21:5 (RSVCE via BibleGateway

We are never a dirty toothbrush to God.


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