This day will be a day of remembering for you. You will observe it as a festival to the Lord. You will observe it in every generation as a regulation for all time.
In the last two days, forgiveness and seeing the good, I don’t mean to say that resilience is about selective memory or forceful forgetting. Resilience is not about glossing over traumatic experiences. It’s about reshaping the memory, finding containers for the memory so the remembering doesn’t spill over and gloop onto every moment of your life. Remembering is critical—you learn to tell the stories of pain in ways that empower you and reveal your strength and grace. This is why the Exodus from Egypt begins with a ritual of remembering. The Hebrew slaves observe the first Passover on the eve of their liberation, at God’s instruction. God gifts the people a container for the memory. God gifts a way to contain and transform the trauma of slavery. In the Christian tradition, Passover becomes the Last Supper and Good Friday. The trauma is different, as Christians anticipate Jesus’ brutal and unnecessary murder, but the practice is the same: to create space in the calendar for remembering, to have a container to put some boundaries on the power of that memory. It’s a process, and our rituals may require some adjusting year to year, but finding ways to remember without being overwhelmed by memory is one way of healing.
Takeaway: Today may be a time to revive an old ritual: light a candle for a loved one; read a favorite story; recite a comforting childhood prayer. If you’re observing Easter, maybe it’s a day to make plans for a Maundy Thursday or Good Friday (next week). Or, take a moment to establish a new remembering ritual today. I recently created a Prayer Jar, where I put the prayers that are too big or too overwhelming for me to carry alone. When I find myself getting overwhelmed by a worry, especially near bedtime, I write it down and put it in the jar, physically giving it to God and giving myself space to rest for the night. Look for containers for the sloshing memories you hold.
Gathering the Stones is providing 40 days of reflections on resilience during Lent. Check back for new reflections every day (except Sundays).