We must pay more careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away. ~Hebrews 2.1
For anyone who has been in a small group or Bible study with me – whether I am a member or leading it – know that I detest icebreakers. Y’know, those silly questions about your favorite vacation spot, what kind of animal you would be if you could choose, or what was your favorite toy as a kid. I detest them. Waste of time and energy. IMHO.
Wrong or right, it’s me, and I won’t be changing this any time soon.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Meditation. It has become the practice that brings me not only immediate solace, but also long-term remembrance. [/pullquote]The questions I hate the most are the ones that ask you to reveal your most embarrassing moment, your biggest mistake, when were you frightened out of your wits, tell about a joke that backfired – the negative stuff, the stuff that, by sharing, it somehow makes you more vulnerable, more approachable.
I always say I can’t remember anything to answer. Because I can’t. I really can’t. I always get those looks of disbelief, of pity that I couldn’t open myself up, unable to share myself. Such a sad existence, poor thing.
It’s not that I am no fun. I am, really I am. It’s just that I honestly don’t remember that kind of stuff. As hard as I try. (Although I do remember wearing a white skirt to work, and having my period all over it and didn’t realize until a male co-worker asked me if I had sat in ketchup. Why, God, do I remember that!!??) Maybe if someone reminds me of something, it comes back to me, but as a rule, I have really blocked it all out.
I don’t want to remember my worst moments, the times I felt totally destroyed, the events that drove me into being so protective of myself. And I don’t intend to change that. Ever.
I have learned that when I revisit it, the same feelings return – of disgust, or embarrassment, or being less-than someone or something else. My psyche has learned to protect and preserve what I have worked so hard to build and maintain.
This doesn’t mean I don’t remember what I learned from the past. I have looked into the mirror and remembered what I saw in it, in me. In fact, I think that’s why I don’t remember the specifics. I have dissected it, drawn analogies and metaphors and made changes from the experience. I sucked it dry when I processed it at the point of the emotion. Then I moved on. I see no reason to revisit, or even to clog up my head with it. I have learned to put it behind me. Literally. Not even visible in my rear view mirror.
Unfortunately this habitual moving-on has affected my faith in some real and distracting ways. I have drifted away from faith over the decades often because I do not hold onto what I have read in the Bible, to what the Word is teaching me. I took a morsel, digested it for just that moment of appetite, and moved on, never bringing it back to my memory. And when I was not reading the Bible – well, you can imagine how dry that season became.
Which brings me to remembering…
Over the past few years, I have begun a practice that had escaped me before. Meditation. It has become the practice that brings me not only immediate solace, but also long-term remembrance. When I take the time to really chew on something, to turn it over and over in my mind and heart, it sticks. Just as with the embarrassing moments of my life, I chew on it longer, embrace it more fully.
But, unlike the icebreaking nonsenses, I revisit it. Often. Especially the moments in the Word when I feel like God is just wrapping me in his love letter, when he is soothing my soul, when I hear him in ways that are hard to left behind. Even when he is teaching me hard lessons. These are the memories I want to hold on to.
I journal about them. Write about them. Memorize them. Remember them. I want to never lose them.
So next time, if I get to pick an icebreaker, this will be it: what is your fondest memory of a moment when God embraced you as his child?
Now that’s a memory I would love to share, and love to hear about from others.
I am sorry that you cannot be the dolphin you always wanted to be, but I would love to hear about your encounter with the God who made you exactly what he wanted you to be.