It may seem like an odd concept, to heal a memory. And yet, I have found recently that it is an important part of recovery – at least for me.
Last week I returned to my secondary school to talk to my RE teachers about life, theology and ThinkTwice – I was more nervous than I thought I would be. For I had not been back in two years, afraid of the power of the memories that the place holds for me.
It is the setting of some of my most painful days, those days which seared their pain through my story and left their mark on me.
Then I remembered the words of a very wise friend. He reminded me that I was not alone in the darkest places, whether they be solid and present – or in my memories.
It sounds obvious. The words “you are not alone” are writ large through the Bible, and yet it had never occurred to me that it applied to the past as well as the present.
When the tears fall as we are faced with an old photograph.
When the heart pounds as we pass the place where we hurt so much.
When we feel sick at the reminder of a memory.
We have a God who doesn’t want us to be haunted by past failures and painful pasts.
He sets us free.
It’s not that the trauma of the past ceases to exist, nor that its effects are no longer felt.
It’s that it no longer wields its power over us.
Hard memories do not have to puncture the promise of a hopeful future.
So we can continue to hope, in the God in control of past, present and future.