I have a brilliant memory. It’s selective, but brilliant all the same.
I will be singing along in the chorus before a brand new song is over, I will ‘know’ it the second time through and by the third time I have the lyrics down. I can remember songs from my childhood with surprising clarity and I’m one of the only girls I know who can seriously rap.
Give me a script and I’m the first actor to have their lines down. I can recite all the books of the bible with amazing speed. I can remember birthdays of people I never see. I can easily remember when you are re-telling a story and I definitely can remember what you got or didn’t get me for my birthday 3 years ago.
Having a great memory is something I’ve taken for granted but lately realised is such an asset. I’m pretty good with names and details. I might forget that I had a date with someone, but there’s no way I’ll forget their middle name, birthday, email they used in high school or the joke they told me two weeks ago. Its’ selective, but brilliant.
The best thing about having a great memory is also the worst thing. The things I do remember, I remember with absolute clarity.
I remember the first time I listened to the Dreaming Out Loud album by One Republic. I was in the car with my family on the way to visit by brother during his initial training. My ipod must have been dead and was using my Mum’s for entertainment. This was the only album that seemed worth listening to and I remember how I felt listening to ‘Goodbye Apathy’ and ‘All Fall Down’. I remember the goosebumps and I remember the Australian scenery that whisked by. It’s an album I still listen to regularly now.
I can clearly remember the first time I met someone. I remember the exact words that I said. I remember how I felt. I can, with absolute clarity – transport myself back to that place. A place when I knew things changed and wouldn’t be the same anymore.
I can remember the day I had a big car accident. I can remember driving and then sliding and I can easily remember the weird state of calm panic I felt as I tried to find my way out of a car toppled on it’s side. I remember feeling so grateful for life. I can remember the pain from being in a neck brace for hours. I can remember how hungry I was and I can remember by Mum’s expression as she fed me tiny pieces of chocolate. I can remember asking the doctor if I’d be able to attend my friends engagement party the next day. I can remember asking them not to ruin my ‘Saturday’ jeans by cutting them off. I can remember the needle. I can remember the ambulance officer asking me if I’d had a chance to vote yet.
I can remember seasons. I remember seasons of pure joy. I remember seasons of hard work. I remember success. Failure. I remember it all.
That is in fact, the problem though. I remember it all. Whatever situation.. if it’s in my memory – it is in there for good. Which means I remember wonderful moments, life changing moments – but I also remember the ugly ones.
When I remember a painful experience – it’s so clear to me – that it actually isn’t so much of a stretch to immerse myself in the memory so deep, that I feel whatever emotion I felt at the time. Now THAT is a risky skill. It truly is a case of the best and the worst thing all at once.
When I’m sad, I can easily remember a wonderful time and find myself grateful again. However when I’m sad and trying to move on from something, I can easily remember the words spoken, the look given, the opportunity lost that caused me to be sad in the first place – and down, down, down I go.
It frustrates me that God gives us a beautiful gift – and then it’s so easily turned around to be our downfall. I have the ability to recall amazing things – sometimes useless, sometimes critical. I won’t let that be squandered.
The only thing that really helps is to ask the Helper which things to remember and which things to forget.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8 MSG