There is something within you that was a gift God gave you when He created you. If you handle it properly, it can be your best friend. If you don’t handle it properly, it can be your worst enemy.
Can you guess what that gift is?
It’s the gift of your memory?
Have you ever considered the fact that your memory is a great gift from God?
Your memory is something that you probably take for granted. Most people rarely think specifically about their memory and the effect that it has on the decisions that they make and the attitudes that they adopt concerning their relationships with others and the way they feel about themselves.
We ordinarily don’t blame or give credit to our memory when it reminds us of past experiences that make us sad, happy, fearful, scared, or angry.
Dictionary.com describes the word “memory” as “the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.”
If you were to ask a happy, stable, secure 90-year-old woman to tell you about her life, she would tap into her vast memory of life experiences and serve up several positive memories of what she experienced while she was growing up. She would share stories about how her parents, spouse, children, grandchildren, relatives, or friends contributed to her growth and happiness.
If you asked her to provide you with some negative memories of her past, she would be able to provide you with some bad experiences, but then she would do her best to explain to you what positive lessons she learned from those experiences and how they made her a better person.
If you were to ask an angry, unstable, nasty 68-year-old man to tell you about his life, he would tap into his vast memory of life experiences and serve up several negative memories of what he experienced while he was growing up. He would share stories about how his parents, spouse, children, grandchildren, relatives, or acquaintances contributed to his miserable life.
If you asked him to provide you with some positive memories of his past, it would be a struggle for him to remember more than a few good experiences, but then he would tell you how those experiences were far outweighed by all the bad experiences he was forced to endure.
I’ve provided you with two extremes — a 90-year-old woman who is happy and content with her life and a 68-year-old man who is frustrated and miserable with his life.
Most of us fall in between those two extremes. For those of us who are devout Catholics, we have the grace and ability to take a fresh look at each of the negative memories that are stored away in our brains and to reposition those memories as events that made us wiser and more capable of successfully coping with and handling our painful experiences.
Let me be clear about one thing. With God’s grace, each of us has the ability to turn our negative memories into positive memories that had the effect of changing our lives for the better. But to do that, we must be willing to use the grace that God has given us to transform our negative memories into positive life lessons that have helped us to improve and grow closer to our God.
There are many people who, if given the know-how and the choice to transform their negative memories into positive memories, would refuse to follow through with it. Because of their pride, those people derive satisfaction from using their negative memories to justify their anger and the revenge they would like to take against the people who wronged them.
What I’m suggesting here is not easy. It can be extremely difficult for a person who has suffered grave harm from the words and actions of another person to let go of the anger and hate that resulted from the way they were treated.
If you have memories that still cause you to experience the same negative emotions that were associated with the experiences that produced the memories, you have the ability to pray for the humility and the grace that is necessary to forgive the people that harmed you and to turn the negative experiences into an opportunity for you to develop a closer relationship with God.
You can also benefit from asking the Mother of God to help you deal with the pain and suffering that you experienced when you were wronged. Why the Blessed Mother? Because she had direct experience with what I’m suggesting that you do with your negative memories. As a result of her prayers and humility, she was able to turn her negative memories of the pain and suffering she experienced when she saw her Son tortured and murdered into memories that reminded her that her Son’s death and resurrection secured salvation for anyone who is willing to follow and abide by His teachings.
Your worst memory can easily become your worst enemy. With the grace and assistance of our Lord and His holy Mother, you have the power to turn your worst enemy into a dear friend that helps you to develop a closer relationship with God and also helps you to develop better relationships with the people who are important to you.