How does a person reflect on their life? Every perception. Every word that was spoken. What do we think about? I know that every circumstance, while some are similar, is still a unique experience. Some are special, and others are damaging. And sometimes, detrimental. Most of those memories that we have accumulated will come from people. Strangers, family, friends, acquaintances. Still, others will come from circumstances that are out of our hands, such as a hurricane or another natural disaster.
I think we will agree that we all reflect on our lives at one point or another while we don’t mind reflecting on the good. The bad, well, that’s a bit more uncomfortable, to say the least. Some solace to take is we aren’t the only ones. It’s good to know that there are others out in the world, at this moment, reflecting on something in their past, because sometimes, depending on what we are reflecting on, it can be lonely, even painful. It’s good to know that we can share something in common with someone.
These Are My Memories
Like you, I have memories of amazing things in my life that I enjoy and treasure. I can recall a few favorites; My father and I sat down and worked together to put beautiful music to a poem a friend of ours wrote, and it turned into an amazing worship song. I remember a night when my brother was nine, and my sisters were at a sleepover; he experienced some heartache that left him feeling so sad and not wanting to be alone. As I watched him crying, there was a compassion that swept over me. I didn’t want to see him hurt. He was my little brother. We didn’t always get along, but I loved him very much. That night I let him sleep in my room. I was twelve years old at the time. I laugh when I think of a time when I was playing soccer with some family friends, and I went up against their dad, stole the ball, and knocked him down in the process. I still have a bump on my leg that serves as a reminder how of one little human can still knock a grown man off of his feet! Sweet memories!
To be completely honest, there are still memories I reflect on that I don’t want to have. Events in my life that I wished would have never happened. Things that left me broken and wandering around, carrying pieces that I wished I didn’t have to carry. Things like divorce in the family, things spoken to me that left me unsure of myself, and so on. There were times when I felt alone and longed for someone to be there who would take me in their arms and tell me things would be okay. There were times when I was looked down upon, judged, made fun of, humiliated, and put down. The most memorable moments come from people who I thought I could trust. Most of these experiences came from people who were closest to me. And yet, as much as these hurt, I have harder memories that I try to hide away. These are the kind of memories that hurt me more than most others I have.
They are often reminders of the many times I was the one who caused pain and hurt to someone around me.
The moments when I lied, spoke down to someone, slandered, and gossiped. Times when I judged and treated people unfairly and unkindly. When I hurt the people that were closest to me. There is a mix of intentional and unintentional actions and words I used that hurt people, but when all is said and done, no matter what my intention was, whether good or bad, ignorant or arrogant, I still hurt someone. And because I had felt the sting of rejection, the burdens of judgments, the shame of being treated like an outcast, and the feeling of unsurety when I knew I should feel safe in a relationship, it hurt to look back and realize I have done that to others. I think we have all been there to varying degrees.
Reflecting on memories
Memories are a Wonderful gift we can enjoy that can sometimes end in horrible pain. Maybe you’re like me. The moment those memories come up, as soon as I can, if I can, I try to hide them away. I don’t want to deal with those kinds of memories. Who wants to feel that way again? I don’t. It’s agony to go through them over and over. They seem to pop up whenever they want to. I’m trying to get on with my life, and once I think I have forgotten they exist, a memory jumps out, piercing like an arrow to my heart. It’s too painful to relive over and over. Just when I think I have moved on, something comes up, and it’s like ripping off a band-aid.
That’s the problem, isn’t it? These wounds have not healed. Of course, they haven’t. I haven’t allowed them to heal because I haven’t dealt with them. They continually bleed, and sting and I just cover it up, out of sight, out of mind, right? In my mind, it’s better to pretend that didn’t happen or forget about them altogether, but when a moment comes, and I have to remember, it seems unbearable and can be paralyzing.
I don’t even want to deal with these. Honestly, it’s because I will be forced to acknowledge that I did them. I said those things. Me! No one else. I caused hurt to people. I don’t want to bear the burden of shame and guilt that comes with the moments my mind forces me to reflect on. It’s embarrassing to know that the person who committed and said these things was me. I have to take comfort. No matter what idea people have of me, I know my heart, and God does too.
God Can Help Us
Did you know that Psalms 34:18 says, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”? Can I encourage you for a moment? If you are going through this, I want to let you know, God can help bring healing. Imagine if you could get to a point where a random flash of memory comes by, a moment that causes pain, whether from others or by your actions, and there wasn’t a band-aid to be ripped off. Instead, there was a beautiful scar to acknowledge that it happened, but no pain. What if it turned into an event that we can acknowledge did happen but didn’t push you or me down, trying to suffocate and drown us.
Let’s face facts. It is an event that transpired. It did happen, and nothing will change that, but it doesn’t have to keep us down. There is someone willing and able to help us. His name is Jesus, and He redeemed you. He loves you. He forgave you. Now it’s time to allow Him to heal those parts of us we hide within ourselves. It isn’t fun. Actually, it’s rather humiliating. But God wants that part of us too. He wants all of you and all of me.
Romans 5:10- “For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
All of us have probably become unlovable or even unredeemable according to humanity, or ourselves, at some point in time. Yet, to God, we were savable and loved. Even in this period of our lives, before we turned our hearts to Him, God loved us. And He wants to bring us healing. This change will help us in our future. When people are struggling to deal with the pain caused by others and the pain that comes from what they have done to others, you can help them see God and His plan for healing in their lives is real. Restoration is His thing, and it’s wonderful to experience. It takes time. Progress isn’t always fast and the wounds won’t get better overnight, but there is healing. Like water cools fire. Healing takes the sting out of the burn.