You know when you see images that are NOT pleasant, pure, chaste, etc... and it's hard to forget them? Well I think the same thing happens with experiences of the same nature. It's hard to forget them. HOWEVER, if thinking of these negative images and experiences can be so detrimental, then wouldn't thinking upon images and experiences that are pure, honest, pleasant, lovely, true and virtuous do the exact opposite? (Phillipians 4:8)
I would like to share an experience I had which testified to me the power of remembering. This morning, like many others, I woke up hearing one of my kids whining. Pretty much every mom does, when the kids are young, anyway. (It's pretty much the only way they know how to communicate for the first couple of years of their lives, right?) Well, this morning I found myself thinking a prayer for the coming day. Thinking prayer is not the same as feeling a prayer. I noticed this and remembered the scripture Matthew 15:8 "...draw nigh unto me with their mouth, ...but their heart is far from me." At this moment, I knew that thinking a prayer was not what I wanted, although it may have been a good first step. I wanted to have my heart in the right place for my prayer to actually be felt and heard and answered and lived.
But as I got up and started to get ready for the day, I was feeling more and more negative feelings and they were all coming from a really deep spot that had been hurt in the past. As I was feeling these feelings, I was also remembering that scripture that I thought of this morning. I started crying because I felt so helpless in casting off the negative feelings. I tried thinking back in my brain to figure out why I felt these bad feelings so strongly right now. I found that it was remembering the horrible event that brought these feelings on. I then wondered why I couldn't remember the really pleasant and happy memories, the really great spiritual experiences, just as easily. This brought on a wonderful epiphany! I thought of the Savior's admonition when he administered the sacrament; that we do it in remembrance of him. Every week I go to church and take the sacrament, that word remember is right there in the prayer that is said over the bread and water (or wine depending on your particular belief). The scriptures also tell us dozens and dozens of times to REMEMBER!
So, I'm in the shower crying, realizing the power I have to remember these big experiences - good or bad. And as I made a concentrated and focused effort to recall and pull up in my memory the really awesome and big spiritual experiences I have had or the times when I have felt forgiveness, comfort and guidance, they came. And those negative feelings cowered in their presence. I could see and feel them disintegrating. The warmth and light of the spirit of the Lord that is carried in those awesome, truly precious, and good memories healed the hurt of times past. It took away the spitfire and sting and replaced it with hope, faith and love.