Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Art of Remembering

Sometimes when you have a traumatic even that occurs in your life you can't remember it, or you don't remember it completely. Professionals in the field of psychology will say that the memory has been repressed. Sometimes people choose not to remember things that happened in the past because they can't bear the horror of the recall. Someone I love is struggling with trying to deal with a traumatic memory of abusive events that occured in their life in their childhood so that they can get on with their life and heal.

Someone else I love is refusing to remember they were the perpetrator of abusive events in my past. I have dealt with this issue of memory with this individual for a long time, incredulous that this other person in my life will not come to terms with what they did to me. They simply refuse to remember any wrong doing they have told me I am crazy, but others had seen. I agonized in prayer, asking for the ability to be able to forgive, spent time in therapy and still struggled with an empty sadness over the violation of a trust. Finally I had a realization that this person was choosing not to remember and in fact denied these events even took place, because it was too painful for them to remember. They were as traumatized by the fact that they had committed the offenses as I was. They could not face themselves, let alone me. God has since given me the compassion and grace to be able to freely love this person I cannot "escape" as they are "family" . I am no longer tormented by sad or angrey feelings about them, my relationship today is no longer defined by what happened in the past. I have moved forward and have been able to develop a new relationship, different too, because I am no longer a vulnerable child, but a wise woman, and they are elderly.

I pray someday this person will be able to know that they are accepted by God unconditionally. As for now, when I see them they ask, "Do you love me?" I can honestly say yes. Yes, from the bottom of my heart. Love is a gift of God. It was freely given to me and I have been finally able to be set free enough to give it freely to them. I remember with thanksgiving, the comforting love and grace of God that brought me through the struggle and pain, then the joy of being set free of the bondage of anger and sadness. It didn't happen overnight. It took many years, praying continually, until the breakthrough came.

Luke 17, 11-19
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

I remember with Thanksgiving what God has done for me, may you be blessed to do the same. Happy Thanksgiving.