Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us. Oscar Wilde
Bad memories, everyone has them. Of course there are many different levels of bad memories. I’ll deal with those that we can do something about, however, there are memories caused by violence and trauma that require therapy. Those of you who are plagued with these kinds of memories should run, not walk, to a therapist. Promise me you’ll do this.
I have a bad memory that haunts me. It is one of tremendous regret. It was when my son, Charles, married. His fiancé’s mother and I were asked to write something about our child to be read to them during the ceremony. I jumped on this, besides being a writer, Charles’ birth taught me something special—about how God loves us unconditionally.
I wrote that I had wanted a girl, but the minute they put him in my arms, I felt guilty for ever wanting anyone but him. I told of when they brought Charles to me for feeding, how demanding his cries were, how he looked like a little old man, and that he spit up on me when I fed him. But even though he was demanding, wrinkled, and messy, I loved him so much it hurt. That is when I realized how God loves us. Even when we are demanding, pouting, and messy, He loves us because we are His. Then I went on about how Charles has been a consistent reminder of God’s love.
When I emailed it to the pastor performing the ceremony, he emailed me back saying he was a writer also. Then he asked if he could edit it a bit to make it shorter and I answered, “Of course.” After all, he was a pastor and a writer. I could trust him. Right?
Before the ceremony he gave me his edited version while we were doing the last minute things. I was busy and since I “trusted” him, I scanned it and said it was fine. I “assumed” he kept the integrity of my piece. NEVER ASSUME!
When it came time to read what each mother wrote, to my horror he had cut out the heart of my message. He read that I wanted a girl, that Charles was demanding, wrinkled, and messy, but over the years had been a consistent reminder of God’s love.
I about died.
In fact, I get sick in the pit of my stomach every time I think about it. My precious son was made a laughing stock on one of the most important days of his life, and by his mother no less!!!!
I profusely apologized to him, and on occasions I still do. But, I think I’ve finally done something that will make up for it. I sent what I wrote the pastor to Chicken Soup for the Soul Devotions for Mothers and I’ve made the first cut. I’ll know in a few months if I made the final cut.
There are many sources to our bad memories. We may have been:
· Hurt by someone
According to an article I read about getting rid of bad memories the author says to identify the source of why it haunts you.
If there is anything in your house that triggers the bad memories like letters, pictures, or cd’s, get rid of them.
Dwelling on bad memories interferes with focus. When you feel it coming on, shake it off. Remind yourself that you need to finish what you are doing, call a friend and talk about something else. I usually take a walk.
My pastor, Steve Dixon, spoke about offenses. He said we can “rehearse it, nurse it, or REVERSE it.” That can be true of bad memories. I reversed mine by writing that story for Chicken Soup as an inspiration to other mothers. Plus, I consider it a lesson on being more mindful and never assuming anything!! Ask yourself, how can I use this thing that has caused a bad memory wrinkle in my brain to help someone else?
Friends are a great resource. Talk with those you trust. Often by talking it out, you find peace.
Forgive. We are all made of dirt. We all fail. Don’t let the past continue to hurt you. Do you really want your pain to define your future? Use what you’ve learned from those dark times and help others.
I chose Oscar Wilde’s quote because our minds are like journals that we carry about. This week, let’s all “turn the page” together and start another entry that makes us smile!
Next week: MAKING GOOD MEMORIES!