Hello Reader. We all remember the day. That day when our world stood still. In writing this post I thought specifically of our nation remembering 9/11/2001.
I also thought of several other days in my life and the lives of dear friends. We all have either shared “days” or private “days”.
What are our options when those memories pop up?
First of all, we actually do have options. Options on how we want to remember and for how long we want to remain in the memory. Sometimes the memories play out on auto-pilot. If it’s not trauma-related then you might want to give yourself permission to stop remembering through the auto-pilot which is often driven through an anxiety-lens. You can still honor the grief, the loss or the need for comfort while remembering through a hope-filled lens. (If there is trauma or PTSD within the memory, consider inviting a trained therapist into the memories with you to bring healing as possible over time with grace, truth and any needed medical professionals.)
Second of all, remembering is not the same as reliving. You can remember the relationships and how you felt or how your life was before “the day”. You don’t have to relive “the day”. Actually allowing yourself to think about the details might not be helpful. If the details are painful, then when you relive it your brain doesn’t know the difference between then and now. So be sure to care for yourself well when the memories pop up.
Here’s a suggested hope-filled plan for honoring and remembering. Perhaps you can add to it for yourself:
Stay Calm and Continue On – It’s not just a poster.
- When we experience pain and the worst of human nature we can respond with the daring of compassionate rescue. What is a compassionate offer you received once?
- By remaining as calm as possible you allow yourself to actually be yourself, rather than be driven by the pain or anxiety. How can you help yourself be calm?
- Continue on with your normal everyday routines as much as possible when you remember “the day”, whatever “the day” means to you. What every-day routines might be compromised during the memory?
Give & Receive Grace – It’s not just a good feeling.
- Give yourself grace when “the day” comes because your body, brain and spirit will all be experiencing the memory. If you think you are less than effective when you are tired or stressed, you are also less than 100% when you are remembering. That might be monitoring your self-talk and your expectations or even the amount of tasks on your schedule. How can you give yourself grace?
- Give others grace at the same time by considering your level of patience might be a bit lower while your pain is higher. Also consider they might be having a day too. How can you extend grace to others?
- Grace isn’t just good feelings. The grace given by God is an empowering life enhancing power. As the memories come, so might emotions about God. Don’t let the emotions keep you from communicating with the God who can empower you to live, love, laugh, forgive and be a conduit of healing. Do you know this empowering grace yet?
Trade Now for Most – Cookies won’t ultimately help
- I heard this stated by Craig Groeschel, leader of LifeChurch.church. He said when you are given the option for what you want more, choose what you want most not what you want now. That might look like when you are remembering, trade the ice cream or cake for a smaller serving or for a piece of fruit and a short walk. What you want most is comfort and relief but that ice cream or cake isn’t going to deliver that long-term, they just give a chemical “now” relief. What do you seem to want now but know it would be better if you chose what you want most?
Honor the Love – It’s the missing experience
- When we lose someone we miss the relationship and the shared experience of love. That might look like telling someone about the person; maybe making an offering in their honor; maybe serving someone else who also cares as your loved one did; there are lots of other ideas too. How can you honor the love you shared once in person?
Unite – We are better together
- Remembering within the lens of anxiety can isolate us. Instead allow yourself to remember within the lens of hope and that will lead to connecting to others. Who can you reach out to today? Who else might need your hand or your care?
- Uniting your heart with God’s heart within the context of the memories can be healing and life-giving not just for you but for others nearby. Whatever your feelings toward God, he always wants to be near you and he is for you. Take the time if needed to address all emotions toward God and “the day”. How can you reach out to God today?
- Standing with others who also want to seek hope, freedom and what is good is a powerful next step for a hope-filled plan. Who else can you stand together with to pursue a Godly hope-filled plan?
I think of this quote,
“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. None of us will forget this day. Yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” –Former President George W. Bush in his Address to the Nation
Possible Next Steps –
We have 3 resources that might be helpful, so contact me if you would like me to email you one of these: Grieving Well As A Community, Practical Steps After a Crisis Event, Soul Care Practices.
Also, if this is stirred up some thoughts for you or if you wonder why I didn’t mention something, please connect with me directly.
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
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