Memory is a powerful thing. It can transport you back in an instant to the time when you were happiest and it can paralyse you with the pain you felt before. Memories can be healed, though.
This week was the anniversary of a very painful day. It was a day that quite literally pulled the ground from beneath my feet and left me with a scar. The memory of that day has always made me incredibly sad, the anniversary each year has knocked me sideways, back into pain, reminding me of what happened.
This year, the day was different. I was still saddened by the memory – but I wasn’t torn apart. For the first time I realised that the memory was healed – it no longer wielded the same power over me and my mood. Despite the sadness, there was hope. Hope because I am not the person I was. Hope because I know that ultimately I was changed for the better. Hope because I don’t deny the pain and trauma, but I have moved on. I have accepted it and the way it changed the course of my life. I am learning to be thankful for it and the dark days that followed because I am sure that my vocation and heart for people would have taken a different shape if it were not for the events of that day four years ago.
It is just one part of me. One part of my story, my past. It is not my future. I did not, as I so feared ‘wreck everything’. God’s plans are not easy to derail. I was particularly struck by the following lyrics I stumbled across some years ago:
Will my weakness for an hour make me suffer for a lifetime?
Is there any way to be made whole again?
If I’m renewed and find forgiveness and the strength I’ve never had
Will my scars forever ruin all God’s plans?
Is He not strong enough?
Is He not pure enough?
To break me, pour me out and start again?
Is He not brave enough?
To take one chance with me
Please can I have one chance to start again
He took my life into His hands
And turned it all around
In my most desperate circumstance, is where I’m finally found
That You are strong enough
That You are pure enough
To break me, pour me out and start again
That You are brave enough
To take one chance on me,
Oh thank You for my chance to start again
Stacie Orrico 2004. Strong Enough
I for one, am thankful that I was given the chance to start again and know that healing and forgiveness. Thankful that memories of the past do not have to destroy our hope for the future. Thankful to the God who not only created me; but re-made me, and continues to re-make me every day.