Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lasting impressions

Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. Isaiah 54:4-5
What are "lasting impressions"?  They are not only the good and true things we have learned from the Word of the Lord since early childhood, which have been imprinted on our memory, but all the experiences that come from these good and true things: experiences of innocence in early childhood; experiences of love for our parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, and friends; experiences of kindness toward others, and of compassion for the poor and needy; in short, every experience that involves goodness and truth.  These experiences, along with the good and true things that have been imprinted on our memory, are called lasting impressions, which the Lord preserves with us and stores away in our inner self, though we ourselves are not directly aware of it at all.  However, not all of these are positive and joyful.

What to Forget
Many have never experienced the emotional and difficult task of moving a parent out of the family home when they need to transfer to a care facility.  The same experience occurs in cleaning out a home after the passing of family.  Talk about memories!!  Every closet opened is a treasure cove of family history.  While needing to be about the task of packing or throwing away it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by emotional memories triggered by the items surrounding you.  Such was the case as I worked through the piles of items from our Tulsa home when Dad came to Texas. 

Opening the camera closet, I saw literally thousands of pictures and wanted so badly to stop and look through the old 8 mm movies and 35 mm slides.  In a closet cut into the attic were all of the WWII mementos and boxes of items from grandparents that had been kept after cleaning out their home.  Wow!  It was really fun!

But then I saw it...the paddle!  I had remembered it being much larger than it looked hanging there on the closet wall.  But it still brought fear into my heart!  It took a lot of energy to reach out and touch it.  It seemed like something sacred that was not meant for my hands.  All of those years and I had never held it in my hands.  I found myself looking around to see if anyone was looking.  Emotions ran wild inside me.  There was a mixture of anger, fear, guilt and sadness.  I really did not know what all of the feelings were but al lot of them came from somewhere far back in my mind. 

Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.  ~Michel de Montaigne
Here were memories that I had tried to forget yet now realized were merely buried somewhere in my head.  Like bats out of a cave at dusk they flew around my head.  Memories that are painful seem to defy logic when you try to deal with them.  They must be felt and experienced from a present understanding of their impact on the whole of life.  Memories can reproduce pain from the past which left undirected will steal our peace.  Some things need to be forgotten but they will only go away after they are dealt with.
I have memories - but only a fool stores his past in the future.  ~David Gerrold

As an adult things look so different. The memories of the feelings of a child must be interpreted in light of the greater understanding we have from our history.  Other more recent memories come to offer understanding and understanding changes emotions.  Troubled or difficult memories give rise to the provision of God and His grace and mercy that turned sorrow to joy and healed our pain.  Sometimes what we need to remember is to forget after we have forgiven.

Scripture to Claim:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite. Psalms 147:3-5

Devotional Archive