It is so strange that I can remember it as if it were yesterday. It is, in fact, my earliest memory. My family and I are at an amusement park about two hours from home. My grandmother leads me to a carousel, where I savor the moment of riding up and down on a brilliant steed. My parents do not realize that Grandma has taken me off on this excursion. They are frantic when they find us, and I realize that for a little while I had been a lost two-year-old. My mother then places me in a carriage with my infant sister, where I try to find peace.
Because of the worry expressed by my parents, it is an anxious and traumatic memory for me — one I just can’t shake. I thought I would be forever bound by such unpleasant reminders, until a priest introduced me to the concept of healing of memories.
At a specially-scheduled Mass, our pastor took us on a journey — all the way back to our mothers’ wombs. At each step along the way, he prayed for the healing of our memories. It was a powerful experience, and it changed my perception about the way that I think about the past.
Are you haunted by a specific memory? Or are you troubled by many memories of adverse events in your life? In either case, consider the following action plan for discovering a new sense of peace:
Invite the Holy Spirit into your memory. The third Person of the Blessed Trinity can help you to discover wisdom for making sense of your past.
Invite Jesus to accompany you through your memory. Prior to my introduction to the healing of memories, I never would have imagined Jesus being anywhere near that carousel where I went AWOL at the tender age of two. But he was there, as he is in every moment of every day.
Picture Jesus holding your hand. Visualize Jesus beside you, holding your hand, as you bravely traverse the territory of the past. How does he look at you? Does he say anything to you? What is conveyed in the touch of his hand?
Visualize God the Father watching over you from above. How does God the Father respond to your memory in your visualization? Can you make sense of what happened? If what occurred was truly horrific, can you forgive the perpetrator? Can you forgive yourself for holding onto bitterness and pain?
When I revisited one painful experience from my past, the words “light as a feather” came to mind. With those words, I felt free from the pain, and realized that the memory could no longer harm me. It appeared in my consciousness with the weight of a feather and would not hurt me ever again.
If you continue to struggle with a particularly painful memory, you might want to reach out to a family member, a trusted friend, a priest, or a counselor for another perspective.
Pray for healing. Believe it or not, healing from painful memories is within our grasp. It may take time and effort, but we can recover—stronger than ever. It takes faith and hope—two things that are God’s specialties.
Would you consider asking God’s healing for your difficult memories today?
Copyright 2019 Maria V. Gallagher