A friend of mine on Facebook wrote about how he clearly remembers when he heard of when he heard of his father’s death a few years ago. I can certainly relate to that, as I would think we all can.
My comment to him was how those moments burn themselves into our brains, and when we bring them to mind, years later, it’s like it was yesterday. Sometimes we can remember a smell in the room or a song that was playing or some other event that is still vivid in our mind.
If the death or the event was unexpected and involved someone close to us, the pain at that moment can feel overwhelming. The sudden death of someone who shouldn’t have died under normal circumstances is devastating. We feel we’ve been hit by a truck. The same can be true for catastrophic failures, ours or someone else’s. Life goes a-kilter and we lose our bearings for a time. And the pain can be enormous.
It’s tempting in moments like those to wish we could just close our eyes and have it all go away. But when we awaken, the crushing reality envelops us with its awful welcome to a new day. Some are tempted to ingest a pill or the contents of a bottle and slide away into forgetfulness, even for a brief time. Anything to avoid the beast that stalks our waking moments.
The scars or brain burns we carry remind me of a kind of Braille, the clusters of dots that the blind feel with their fingertips. They are used for reading books, or even music, but each pattern has its own meaning.
When we go back in our memory, we can revisit those times. Hopefully the worst of the pain is gone, but the memory remains. Forgetfulness is not our friend in those times. One thing that I think is true, is that those painful memories are a gift. Without them, we would lose important connections with our loved ones—the sound of a voice or touch or the memory of favorite music or the things you liked to do.
The scars and the memories attached to them, keep us connected to our past and help us to remember how we got to where we are today. They keep us from losing track of who we are and who was important to us.
Even the memories of failure remind us of how we got to that point in our lives. I read an article I’d stored in my computer’s files for years knowing I’d use it sometime. The article asked the question of why does God allow us to keep making the same mistakes. The answer was far more complex that this, but the essence was that we need to remember that we are but dust, because without that reminder, we’d be tempted to lose touch of the One who holds us.
There is a country gospel song by Point of Grace, called “Heal the Wound, but Leave the Scar.” I commend it to you.
The Braille of life.