The Art of…
Most of us have been through some pretty terrible things in this life, and memories of that can bog us down, make us miserable, make us feel less of a person, cripple our effectiveness to function in a normal way. Memories can be selective, we can choose to remember some things while forgetting others. They are also subjective, putting our own spin on a situation based on how we view it. How do we use how we remember and our memories for good?
Without a doubt (at least in my mind), one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of human beings is the ability to recall information, or the complete opposite, forgetting it totally. I struggle with forgetfulness on a daily basis, some days it is difficult for me to recall what I had for breakfast. Through the days of figuring out exactly what I wanted to write about today, I had several different ideas but forgot them because I did not give them enough thought or time. They were blips on the radar of my mind, ones that I did not pursue. This happens to me frequently, and I often get very irratated at myself for it. But it isn’t necessarily the little things that I forget that bother me, it’s the big things that I should have no issue with remembering.
Part of my writing today will be more personal than my last two, because I feel I need that I should push for more transparency and vulnerability in my life. It isn’t comfortable for me, nor is it coming naturally (quite the opposite, actually.) My memory is extremely selective as well as subjective, selective by choice and subjective by nature. I consider myself to be an optimist, and choose to constantly strive to try and see the good in people. But I have limits, and they get tested more often than I would like.
My childhood was not an uncommon childhood among people my age. I grew up in a home with a single mom and my younger brother, it often felt like it was just the three of us against the world. Unfortunately for people my age this is an all too common story, being a child of divorce is nothing new to Millennials. According to a study done in 2010 by foryourmarriage.org, 31% of Millennials grew up in a home with only one parent. I say grew up as if I’m finished growing, at the age of twenty three I feel as if I am just beginning! As disheartening as this is, that is a topic for another day. This is where my selective memory kicks in, because I cannot quite remember when mom and dad separated, I was eight or nine years old though. I think part of my optimism comes from being able to selectively remember (and forget) things from my past, things that I would not necessarily categorize as happy or good.
Subjectiveness occurs in every person on this planet. We all have different ways of viewing the world, even if we all happen to be looking at the same thing, there might be a billion different opinions on it. Remembering this would be of great importance to anyone that deals with groups of people on a regular basis, keeping in mind that not everyone will view each situation the way you would like them to. That being said, let’s dive into it.
Living my life the way that I chose to, as a believer of Jesus Christ, there are a lot of things I should remember and keep on the forefront of my mind. But man, is it difficult at times. Attending bible college, there is this myth that when you go home for the first break from classes, your family and everyone at your church, place of employment or what have you will expect you to be an expert on biblical matters immediately. What they do not understand though, is that we will never truly be experts wholly, completely. There’s always opportunities to grow and to learn more about this life and the way that all of what goes on points us back to Christ. So no, being a graduate of bible college does not mean that I will have all the answers to life’s greatest questions. Honestly, it means that I’ll probably have more questions when it is all said and done. I struggle with keeping Christ the center of everything I do. How do I so consistently forget who I am, how loved I am and how blessed I am? I think that comes from a lack of focus on the goodness around us, the incredible nature of God who so willingly and lovingly places reminders in our lives every day.
Remembering what’s important can be difficult in today’s world where nearly everything is competing for your attention. But ultimately, one thing above all should be remembered, and it comes from the book of Luke, chapter twenty-two, in verses fourteen through twenty-three. In this text Jesus is having the Passover meal with the apostles, and knowing that it will be the last meal He will share with them before He is killed on the cross. “Do this in remembrance of me,” He says. Jesus went on to pour Himself out for a world full of sinful people. People who are petty and rude and self-centered. People who lie and cheat and steal and murder. People who are addicted to drugs and pornography. People who screw up our orders at Starbucks, who drive too slow in the left lane, and even New England Patriot fans. All of these people Jesus died for, and the list goes on and on and on. The thing about this is, your name is on that list, as is the name of every human being that existed. Can you accept His love and grace and truth?
Because if you are willing, He’ll have you. Constantly trying to remember that Jesus died for you and me is sort of a crazy thought, but a true one. The least thing we can do is remember this as often as we can, and attempt to live out a life that serves God first, putting other people ahead of your own needs and desires, because my God is a God that provides for those in need. Take what you have gone through in this life, those memories be they pleasant or unpleasant, and put them to use for the sake of something greater than yourself, because a person’s story can only be wasted if they never told it to anyone. You never know what kind of impact it may have on another person and their own story.
Remember what was done for you, and do something about it.