The faculty we have to recall the past, to reflect on its meanings to us, to enter into the feelings this invokes, and then bathe, partly born in it, again. It’s a profound blessing to wonder at what has already occurred and find something new or rejuvenating. It’s a kind of exercise we all move in, like trying to hold running water in our hands. We manage for a moment, and that moment shares its power in measures to us once again.
Today has its meaning as well, at least to us. If we allow ourselves to come to it and honestly live in the moment, it can have the kind value we cherish in our memories. We can gain the power in it, placed to reside in us by God to guide us to a greater comprehension of things and find what filling memories bring; now. This is always there, always working, provided for our greater experience if we will enter in.
So why is it we hold certain memories as treasures, stirring us to tears of joy, but others carry the shadow of loss, and we still hold on to them as familiars, as reminders of our times?
If there is pain in the memory, why reflect on it? Well, the fact is, everything you’ve ever lived through is still in your memory somewhere. Like neighbours, memories seem to live next door, present but just out of our everyday experience, and we can just bump into them as our days unfold. Additionally, if we view memories with a new perspective, they can teach us about ourselves. It’s what we do inside ourselves when we do bump into them, which makes all the difference to what we experience in that moment.
Then, there are certain memories we fight to reject, as they persist in our beings like predators of peace. The bully in our emotional schoolyards, the dictator too thick to learn another way, these are those we need to be free from. Context is the key. If we allow the aggressive manner these memories employ, we give them the power to molest our emotions, but if we understand their surfacing is a call to find rest, then we can give them new context.
It says in 2 Cor 5:17, “If anyone be in Christ Jesus, they are a new creation, old things have passed away and all things have become new.”
Unless a continual concerted effort is made to understand and overcome these kinds of memories, we won’t acquire the ability to deny their hostility. These memories must be put in their place.
Firstly, we can make the choice to see the value of learning how to file these memories differently. Addressing them without fear, leaving them without presence, and no entitlement to occupy any other space but what is past.
Secondly, though they are in the past, we can use them to serve us as something we can choose to draw on to learn from as examples of behaviour and reaction. We can then choose differently if similar situations should ever arise. Depending on what the memory is, we can get back in touch with whatever noble passion occupied us then, like the fight to protect life, as in war. Sometimes these kinds of memories try to maul healthy convictions, attempting to prevent our revisiting of them, to connect with what made it all worthwhile in the first place.
We are now in a moment of now, this week, including Remembrance Day today and on November 8th, National Aboriginal Veterans Day, which are times of remembrance of the past in the context from the past. Remembering the vast numbers of Indigenous people who signed up to fight to defend Canada and its allies, along with so many from the rest of our nation, is a healthy reflection. Without this context, we lose connection with the nobility and meaning carried in the actions of the time. This, I believe, is why so many fail to honour the past and so miss moving in its right lessons in the contexts of today. There are hearts, like them, who have also served more recently as well. This failing of continuity and context could be why so many also struggle with a lack of real direction for tomorrow.
“There is no” room for an ingrate “in a foxhole.” Passion, commitment and dependence live there. Now is for honouring and facing the past openly. Let’s not turn away, as if what was carried in the hearts of our Veterans had nothing to do with us. Let’s put it in its place and draw on its lessons of nobility.
Everything is at stake; the entire timeline of our lives cannot be properly embraced without Remembrance Day and the thanksgiving which should so naturally flow to the ones who offered themselves to protect the lives God has given us to live.
Remember to say “Thank You.” to a Veteran or a member of the Armed Services today, and if you pray, thank God for them.