Two minutes silence.
The season of remembrance. A time to remember the many people who gave their lives during war and conflict. A time for memories of the loved and lost.
Memories. Memories can be both reliable and unreliable. Accurate and embellished. Reassuring and frightening. Clear and unclear. Timebound and timeless.
Memories of an encounter or a place cheer the soul. Memories make us laugh and cry. Memories can be private and can be shared. Memories can be encouraging and demoralising. Memories may be reinterpreted and gain a different meaning.
Memories shape what we do – be that improvements because of bad experiences or the ubiquitous ‘I’ve always done it that way.’
Memories of a critical comment may stop us from doing something: or make us do it out of fear of repetition.
Memories of being bullied at school or work influence current relationships: feeling we’re bring criticised or having our faults pointed out – even though it doesn’t happen.
Memories of getting lost make us doubt where we are another time.
Memories of lost friendships may cause us not to seek new ones.
Memories remind us of who we used to be.
The memories we have – whether inaccurate or accurate, helpful or unhelpful – influence how well we live life and relate to others. While some memories fade and disappear, others retain the accompanying pain.
So, when did we last give ourselves two minutes’ silence? When did we take time to remember?
Praying for the healing of painful memories can be very beneficial. Like with praying for healing from a physical or mental health problem, some elements, some symptoms if you like, may well remain but with prayer for inner peace and wholeness, the ability to live life and relate to others can improve. (It’ll take more than two minutes, though.)
In a book that was influential in my own experience, David Seamands wrote:
‘In this special prayer, we allow the Spirit to take us back in time to the actual experience and to walk through those painful memories with us. It is then through the use of our sanctified imaginations, that we pray as if we were actually there at the time it took place, allowing God to minister to us in the manner we needed at that time.’ (Healing of Memories by David Seamands [Victor Books 1985] now available as Redeeming the Past [David C Cook 2002])
To pray for such healing requires the setting aside of time. Time which won’t be interrupted or foreshortened. Time to recall the memory. Time for silence.
In a context of prayer, open to the Holy Spirit, we carefully relive what took place. To remember the words, the actions, the people, the detail, the consequences, the pain.
As we recall the memory, we bring the person of Jesus right in to the midst of all that took place. Imagining him there for you and any others involved.
To ask for God’s forgiveness. To forgive those involved. To forgive ourselves.
To reach out to God for healing of the pain.
To receive God’s love.
To listen to God as the pain is healed.