Forsan Et Haec Olim Meminisse Iuvabit

When I was a college student, I would often spend my break time engaged in somewhat frustrating tasks, as if the life of a busy engineering and history student was not enough. During the spring break of my freshman year I played the emulator version of one of my favorite roleplaying games as a child, Final Fantasy I, because I could not remember the ending but had remembered enjoying the game. After 100 wasted hours, which would have allowed me to read a few dozen books, the ending of the game revealed a temporal paradox where the party’s heroic deeds would help save the world but would never be remembered. Another break I decided to read War & Peace, which ended up being a great 1200 page novel of complicated stories ended by a mediocre 100 page philosophy essay about free will and determinism. But few projects that I assigned myself were as frustrating for me as assigning myself to read Virgil’s Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem about the founding of Roman history through a lonely tempest-tossed refugee whose arrival in his adopted homeland after fleeing from the defeat of Troy and having some major romantic disappointments in Carthage led to an endless and tedious set of conflicts where hero after hero arose to challenge him only to end up killed after a couple of pages of pointless buildup, until he is finally able to relax at home in his adopted homeland. I can relate to the story a lot more now than I could when I was younger, that is for sure.

Among the more ironic lines of this epic poem is the mysterious title of this particular entry: “Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit,” which, roughly translated, means “Perhaps there shall come a day when it will be sweet to remember even these things.” Even as Aeneas was slaughtering the flower of Latin manhood because they could not let a refugee live in peace, he was able to was philosophical about the play of memory and even a sort of realistic optimism. It is worthwhile that even as Aeneas faced wave after wave of hostility, he took comfort in the prophecy that his descendents would rule over the land where he found a rest from his travels around the Western Mediterranean. It was his ultimately well-placed faith that allowed him to draw strength even when he had to face endless grandsons of heathen deities stirred up by dark enemies to make his life very difficult and uncomfortable.

In light of the struggles and difficulties that we have to face in life, it is a very tempting thing to claim promises made in the Bible as if they applied to our own lives. Sometimes this can be an immensely dubious matter, as some promises made in the Bible are intensely personal and very limited by circumstances and contexts according to the will of God. On the other hand, though, there are some promises that are available for every believer. Among these promises is the one Mark 10:29-31: “So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” This is not a promise that life will be easy, not a promise that there will not be conflict or persecutions, but rather instead a promise that everything will be worthwhile for those who believe. It is eternal life as part of God’s family [1] that we seek as believers, along with the knowledge that no matter what we have left behind, no matter how far from our ancestral hearths, we are not alone where we dwell as refugees. And in the meantime, regardless of what we face, perhaps there shall come a day when it will be sweet to remember even these things, because we will know why we had to endure them, and for what purposes they were placed in our lives.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Forsan Et Haec Olim Meminisse Iuvabit

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