For those of you who saw the Cats film earlier this year, don’t worry I’m not going to bring back the memories of that.
For those of you immediately thinking – Oh I used to have one of those but I forget what happened to it. Don’t worry.
I believe that our memories are some of the greatest gifts we have to get us through tough times.
Our memories are a muscle that we need to keep working in order for them to work for us when we need them.
I visited an elderly lady, Audrey, some years ago, she was alone in her house and unwell and her family was away for several weeks and unable to visit her. As her church, we asked several people who knew her to pop in most days so that she had people checking on her and making sure she had company.
When I asked her – in a round-about way – whether she felt lonely whilst they were away, she replied ‘Certainly not, I have my memories – of my family and friends and those memories speak to me of good times, I have my memories of church and I remember the best lessons we were ever taught, and I have the memories of the Bible verses I know and the hymn words that comfort me.’
These days we have phones that remember phone numbers and important data. We have computers that can bring up lyrics and bible references and songs merely by searching the couple of words we think we know. So isn’t it any wonder then that when hard times happen – and not just no signal for our phone so we can’t google it – we struggle to use our greatest gift to get us through.
When learning first aid – for both physical and mental issues – the first thing to learn is how to remember the important bits and the order in which things come. When an incident happens, the first thing that gets shaken is our memory for the thing to do and the order to do it in.
I think Jesus knew this and tried to help us. He teaches his disciples (and us) a prayer that includes a bit of everything that we might want to say to God. He teaches us at the Last Supper to remember him every time we eat and drink. His love is repeated to us throughout the Gospels in case we ever forget it. Yet when tough times happen, we question and doubt and our memories are momentarily lost.
Take some time today to fix in your mind the memories that bring you the happiest memories – In the Harry Potter stories these happy memories keep the dark dementors away. For us they will help us to keep our head above the stormy waves as Jesus walks towards us to bring us peace.
Remember the words and phrases that pick you up, that remind you of the light at the end – the light that no darkness can put out.
If you feel you need extra armour at the moment – surround yourself with verses of the Bible that speak of love and your value to God.
Why not play songs and learn the lyrics of the worship songs or the current tunes that help lift your spirits.
Remember those friends who help you smile and call them if you can…make up an excuse if you need to!
My lovely Audrey used to start with the words from Psalm 23 (They are below if you want to start now…). She would then remember the Lords Prayer (may we never stop teaching our children to say it) and then words would come to her that she could pray, songs would come to her that she could sing and the warmth of her faith would grow in her heart.
May you feel that today and – as always – please share with me the things that keep your memory alive, the memory bank of things that keep you going.
Take care of yourself and each other.