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Memories harness so much power. They bring us smiles and tears and joy. However, memories also bring dread or terror, pain, or regret. Needless to say, our memories beckon us to spend time in the places of our content, or our memories threaten us to flee the encampment of our hauntings. Have you ever tried to revisit a moment in time, just to relive or re-experience the feeling you felt in that moment? I have. That desire can only be reenacted through memory. Sometimes I try to visit a memory when making a dish from my childhood. I see my mother dicing the potatoes and sliding them into the heated cast iron skillet. I smell the blended savoriness of the garlic, onions, and potatoes. I relive the excitement of shredding the cheese. Whenever my mother made this meal, one of us accomplished something. Cheese is expensive, so when she sacrificed to purchase sharp and gruyere cheese, it was a big thing for us. We felt her love. I smile from this memory. I’m all warm and fuzzy even now, just talking about my mother’s “Let’s Celebrate” potatoes.

 

But what do we do when a memory conjures up horrible pain and anguish? Some slip into momentary despair or depression. Others busy themselves with so many tasks and activities that there’s no room left in a day to recall that horrid memory. Yet, those champions of “all-things-faced-head-on” stare down memories that serve to assault and menace with such bravery. These superheroes refuse to live life in the shadows or on the run. I think these valiant ones own their course by redirecting and addressing their memory. They’ve learned the purpose of memory: it’s a gift from our Creator—Albeit bittersweet.

 

Our gift of memory helps us embrace life and refocus on what’s really important. In times of distress, our memory of happier days helps us hope for brighter days. The gift of memory sometimes takes a dark path, which drives us to believe things will never change, but those memories laced with pain hinder us from seeing clearly. Thoughts that usher in regret and dread, if handled wisely, serve to make us better, wiser, stronger, and more grateful for receiving an opportunity to build new memories from the ashes of those painful memories. Without these kinds of memories, we wouldn’t always express humility and gratitude; thus, these unpleasant memories become gifts to us. How well we remember the happiest days of our lives. How well we recall those weary days of our lives. How well we recollect those fretful days of our lives. But the most significant  realization is just that: We remember.

 

What do most of us fear most when it comes to mental sharpness? That’s right, the loss of memory–dementia, Alzheimer’s, amnesia. If you’ve ever engaged with people struggling with these ailments, they sometimes become very agitated. When they feel more like themselves, they’ll tell you the anxiety and frustration, and terror they experience by their inability to hold on to themselves–their memories. Our memories make us. We are a compilation of those memories. True,  memories hold the reins of what keeps us together. Yet, they also reveal that we have the resourcefulness to harness the power of those memories, whether positive or seemingly negative, to govern how we choose to live out our days. 

 

There’s a scripture that admonishes us to cast down imaginings and take every thought captive. Sometimes of the worst kind. Make those thoughts come into compliance with Truth. How? First, realize that thoughts are not memories. Thoughts are suggestions of possibilities and “what if” scenarios. Memories are experiences. Thoughts and memories are not synonymous. With that said, we choose which thoughts become keepers. Those thoughts that promote wellness for our memories, we keep. Those thoughts that sabotage the peace and tranquility of our memories, we torch and trash. We must vigilantly steward how our memories interface with the thoughts that pass in and out of our memory track. If we’re not careful, we will embrace degrading thoughts into our memory that never happened at all, but we begin to believe that it did because we neglected to ward off those conniving undermining suggestive thoughts that infiltrate into our memory compound.

 

Let’s clean house in 2021.  Wherever your memories become unsettled, study it out to see if it’s a memory that has unnerved you or an imposter thought posing as one of your memories. If that becomes the case, extract that thought. Torch it, and trash it. It’s simple. Say, “That didn’t happen that way.” Separate truth from fiction. Secondly, when you face that painful memory. Own that it happened and find some way to make that experience work in your favor. Thirdly, if you believe in prayer, pray for direction and revelation. Actually, pray throughout this whole process. Let’s benefit from our gift of memory. Let’s get it to work for us and no longer against us.

 

Live long and prosper.

 

Peace and blessings and Happy New Year.

 

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