Memory fascinates me. Being a writer, one for whom the past is an endless source of material, I am often struck by the fact that an event can be remembered, or "seen" differently at different moments, by one person.
And a person can be remembered at one moment for their flaws, along with the pain they caused. At another moment, their many redeeming qualities surface in memory: the person's humour, sensitive soul or work ethic.
It's as though light catches the sparkle or casts a shadow, depending on the angle it's shining from at a given moment. Ideally we would remember absolutely factually, and yet facts can be fluid in the mind; fraught with feelings and layers of complexities that are hard to understand and unravel.
I have been deep in the shadows of memory; facing hard truths with greater clarity and courage; sharper pain and deeper guilt. Of course, how can we ever truly understand or "know" the past? And yet, we try, whether it is raking about in the ashes of our own, or those of others.
My journey back in time was unexpectedly healing and freeing in the end. I shed shackles along the way! And I learned some important things:
- Facing a hard truth is only that: hard. It doesn't kill you to do it, it only hurts.
- Having faced it, accepting it is almost easy. Accepting is important.
- Only God knows the whole truth of a thing and he is a Safe Keeper of all things placed in his hands.
- We don't need to know and understand everything. He does.
- It's okay to feel sadness; disappointment; dismay. Love can co-exist with these feelings.
- The guilt of previous generations is not upon my shoulders; it never was.
- We know instinctively that justice demands payment for offence. We are all offenders and the price has been paid.