I pulled the brown shirt out of the drawer and put it on without a thought. Following the pathway grooved into my brain, I proceeded to get ready for the day. My husband preached about “Growing Through Suffering” for the congregation we claimed before the cult. Then we went out for lunch before driving our oldest son to camp for the week. While we were eating, I realized what was happening. In one sense, we were re-enacting a Sunday that took place one year before. I had even sub-consciously dressed in the same clothes. In another sense, we were forming a new groove. We would be driving to camp from the opposite direction, this time in pursuit of fond memories rather than escaping oppression.
With that realization, my breathing grew shallow and my heart began to race. My husband suggested I stay home, but I knew this was another step in the healing journey. It was time to face this moment and embrace better memories.
This day would be redeemed by the one who bought my freedom.
- I contacted friends and asked for prayers. Their sweet words cheered me on and filled me with courage.
- I focused on what God had already done. Before our escape, the camp was a place of fond family memories. I thought of those and gave thanks.
- I lived in the moment. Paul told the Ephesians to remember where they had come from and then to continue in the good work they were created for. What good things did God have for me now? I prayed for my eyes to be open.
- I gave thanks. Because my mind was taken to a frightening day, I gave thanks for what God did that day and all that he has done since.
When we pulled into the camp parking lot, our son remembered the last time we made that turn. “Oh, this brings back bad memories.” Tears pooled in my eyes and my hand gripped the door handle.
“I know, dear. I know. Let’s remember the good that has happened after that day. Now you get to build better memories for the future.”
The next morning, I woke up sad. I wanted to sit in my pajamas and cry, but God blessed me with a busy day. There was not any time to feel sorry for myself or worry about my son. When the thoughts did creep in, I countered them with thanksgiving. I found there is so much more to be thankful for than there is to cry over.
When July 17th came, I was ready. There was an awareness of an anniversary, but it did not affect my emotions at all. The battle which had been fought two days before had already been won at Calvary. July 17th, with all its memories, has no power over me.
Have you lived through sad anniversaries? How did you get your groove back?
Photo Source: http://www.campomagh.org/