Our memory can be quite unreliable at times. There are things from years ago that I can recall so clearly (as if they happened just a few days ago), and there are things I wish I could remember, but the events seem blurry in my mind’s eye.
Our recollection of people, conversations and events both reveals our perspectives and reinforces them.
Just recently, I created our family yearbook for 2020. These books are one way that I preserve memories. I enjoy both the process and the final product. As I go through all the photos from the previous year, I am reminded of the joyful times, difficult times, unexpected times, planned times, and special times. I use the process of creating these books to reflect, express gratitude, and seek healing. The final product of the printed yearbook arriving in the post causes great excitement, especially for my daughter and son who I often find on the couch looking through the books. It reminds them that they belong to a family, a community, and to a story – that their part matters.
The Art of Remembering is something that needs to be taught and learned as followers of Jesus Christ.
During the Last Supper, Jesus modelled for His disciples the integration of gratitude and intentional remembering.
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”Luke 22:19 ESV (emphasis added)
King David reveals how he intentionally remembers the past and specifically reflects upon everything the Lord has done.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.(Psalm 143:5 ESV (emphasis added)
As followers of Jesus, we also need to integrate thanksgiving and remembrance as part of our practice as disciples. A commonly known expression of this is receiving communion within a church service or a small group of believers. However, here are some practical ideas that could help you to cultivate The Art of Remembering in your everyday lives:
- Keep a gratitude journal or list: each day or each week, take note of some specific things for which you are thankful to God (big things and little things).
- Keep a record of answered prayers: we are quick to cry out to God when we have a need, but do we remember to thank Him and share with others the joyous news of our answered prayer?
- Creatively preserve memories: as I shared above, I make an annual family photo book. What could you create that reminds you of the faithfulness of God in your life? Maybe you could paint a canvas, keep a sketchbook of drawings, compose music or collect items that represent an event or season in your life that you keep on display.
- Share your stories: whether through conversations or social media, give your testimony of what the Lord has done in and through you life.
What other ideas do you have to cultivate The Art of Remembering? Please share them in the comments – it will be a huge help to me and other readers!