Summary: (Article from ethoughts weekly-wit4life.com.) Our memory makes us the people we are or are not-what would happen if we got to start over with no memory? Explains how our memories teach us much but can trap us into living without an abundant life in God.
Imagine if you woke up in a strange bed, in a strange house and had absolutely no memory. You didn’t know your name, your home, or your past. How would you live your life? What kind of person would you become? Would you accomplish more than you could be right now with your memory intact? These are all important questions we should ask ourselves, because I believe we typically live as a compellation of memories that becomes what believe about ourselves. I think we can do better than that. and that is what God wants for us as well.
In the peculiar movie Memento, the protagonist continuously awakens to find he knows not where he is or who he is. Time after time he finds messages he has written to himself on Polaroid photos or in tattoos inked on his skin. Repeatedly he discovers he is on a very purposeful and deadly quest. One of his biggest mistakes is actually his inability to start a new life apart from the past he so often forgets. It would be the easiest thing to do to start over, but he is bent on reapeating his forgotten past. Sometimes I wonder if we do a little of the same thing.
So much of what we do and who we are is because of our memory. We know where we grew up, what school we attended, what friends we had or didn’t have. We remember our hurts and our shame. We remember even when God has forgotten because we asked for His forgiveness.
We can be educated for good by our memories yet I contend that we can ascertain much that confines us to a mundane or deminished life.
In the end stages of their brain disease, Alzheimer’s victims are often robbed of their personhood because they are in fact robbed of their memory. In this cruel illness, they live only in the present because new memories are not made and old memories have been lost. They forget the faces of loved ones and eventually who they are and suffer as a kind of living “ghost” wandering adrift until they succumb to their fatal illness. Surely it is memory that can make life seem more worth living. It gives us much of our humanity. Without memory our personhood perishes, but with much memory our potential can perish.
Are we who we are because our memories tell us what to be? Possibly, but I hope not. Memory is only worth something if we remember to avoid mistakes we’ve already made while we also avoid putting a choke-hold on living an abundant life. Perhaps it may help us to suspend our memories to give ourselves a chance to be more than what we remember we can be and who God wants us to be. The past often determines our decisions for the future, but it shouldn’t dictate or trap us into a regrettable life. God wants abundant life for us as Jesus declares in John 16:24.
Sometimes we need to live in the present and determine our future as if we had no past. I challenge you to swap a pleasant memory with someone this week and use it as inspiration for your life now and for the future you hope to have.
Enjoy your week! God Bless.