By Charles Towne
MEMORY: Something remembered from the past; a recollection; the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences. (Webster)
Memories are funny things.
There are good memories, lots of good memories in a lifetime that we love to recall, retell, and long to relive… at least in our heads. And there are not-so-good memories, the ones that would best be forgotten. (Except, people being people with their own stash of memories, tend to remember things about you that you wish they didn’t!)
And then there are those memories that nobody wants. Like this pandemic. This is a memory nobody is going to look back on with fondness. Quite the opposite. In regards to this damnable thing that is dragging its slimy presence through our streets, we will wish that our forgetter was better than our rememberer.
But, even though this memory won’t likely be a good one, we learn from our memories… don’t we? And the learning affects the kind of memories we’ll make going forward, and therefore affect what we will remember after… that will then look different than the memories we would have had, before…if we hadn’t learned from the first set of memories. (Confused yet?)
Memories affect everything!
When you think about it… I mean, when you get right down to it… life is made up of memories. And if that is the case… if so much is built on our memories, good and bad… I’ve gotta ask:
What the dickens are memories made of?!
Are they made of the stuff of clouds? Nah, I don’t reckon that could be the case. But just what are they? What sort of molecules are memories made of? And if not molecules, then what?
We are told that everything is made of molecules, even gas. But how can that be? I can see you, and yet I can’t see a molecule. And if I can’t see a molecule, I shouldn’t be able to see you… right? But I CAN see you… I think… maybe…?
Maybe they are composed of a mysterious, noncombustible gas. Which would be a good thing, the noncombustible part especially. Otherwise you might be sitting there in the restaurant with your spouse, peacefully eating dinner when, KABOOM! You have a memory and your head explodes. Embarrassing, right?! Not to mention fatal. Definitely noncombustible gas.
Some memories are wild, some are domesticated, but none are housebroken. They are all apt to make a mess now and then, because no two people look at any memory in the same way… which can get you into trouble.
Maybe memories are more like monkeys, now that I think of it. Monkeys that don’t like to be caged.
Many years ago a monkey moved into my mother’s house. It was just one of your generic, nondescript monkeys… until the day it went stark-raving-bonkers-crazy MAD and evicted mama and two of my sibs from the house! The sheriff was called and the monkey – that cute berserk monkey – went to wherever it is berserk monkeys go when the sheriff is called… and peace finally reigned again.
There are times when the monkeys of our minds – our thoughts – run amok and cause us all sort of problems. Like monkeys on the loose. Especially the kind of monkey-thoughts we really wish weren’t there at all. Like those ugly, unwanted memories that destroy our self esteem and leave us feeling unworthy of love and feeling less than adequate. I reckon that may be the reason there is so much madness in the world. Monkey-memories getting out and wreaking havoc on us.
I wonder if maybe God knew this would happen sometimes.
Maybe that’s why He made sure some verses were penned to keep us focused on better truths, to help us make better memories… and therefore live better lives that we would want to remember. Verses that, like the good sheriff above who saved my mama, saves us too and allows peace to reign again. Verses like,
Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my mind be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
And Philippians 4:18 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
And throughout the Bible, our Papa God counters our mad monkey-thoughts with the truths of His heart, of His own thoughts and memories he has of us. Psalms 139 comes to mind (through these mysterious memories of mine) where it says He “knows” us (v1) and that we are “wonderfully made” (v14). John 3:16 says that he “loves” us. In Isaiah He calls us “precious” (43:4), and “treasured” (Deut 7:6), and says we are His “workmanship”, which is correctly translated as His “poem” (Eph. 2:10)! God’s poem!!
And even when we mess up and create monkey-memories of our own – sometimes by accident, and sometimes on purpose – you know the ones I’m talking about, the ones we live to regret when we remember them – even when we do this, our wonderful Papa God promises to forget them! He forgives us when we ask, and forgets them. Papa God, who can do anything with His memories, promises He will forget our sins, and more than that, He tells us that He will cast our sins… our mistakes, our goof-ups… into the depths of the sea, beyond even His recall, and remember them no more. That is wonderful, don’t you think?
Memories are funny things.
But with Papa God, even the mysterious, molecular, monkey-kind of memories can be transformed to some of the sweetest ones you’d ever wish to have.
Dear Papa God, thank you for creating us the way you have with rational thought (though some reading this may wonder about the whole rational thought thing, lol). Thank you for enabling us to believe in molecules, even though we can’t see them (I think that is called science-based faith, isn’t it?). Thank you Papa for giving us the ability to believe in your love, and your goodness, in your mercy, and healing power. Thank you for gifting us with the ability to see that same potential for goodness in your children… and… in ourselves too, even though it might take us a little more time to see what you see. Thank you Papa God, for all of it. In Jesus’ Holy name I ask it, Amen
Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.