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In the book, Moonwalking with Einstein, Joshua Foer talks about how we remember things and why some things disappear almost immediately while other things linger in our memories all our lifetime. He calls it the curve of forgetting, the slow process of letting go of information from the point of attaining it. The first hour, day, and month show a slow curve of forgetting—until it stabilizes after about a month, assuming we work to remember it at all.
Of course, some things we don’t have to work to remember, which he explains in his book. Foer says, to remember something, you must connect it to something else, usually visual cues. For example, you can remember what you ate on the morning of 9/11 but not yesterday. Your memory connects the meal to the event—the visual aid.
One of the reasons hurtful things are hard to forget is that there are so many visual connections to the event. You remember the person, facial expressions, the room you were in, what you were eating, and other smells. When an event and visual cues connect, it’s hard to forget. It’s part of the reason triggering happens. A person happily goes down the road and sees something from their regretful past that “triggers” them. I remembered a horrific event in my life by looking at a billboard!
Because we connect bad things to visual cues, they stick in our minds longer, sometimes forever. Perhaps futile efforts to forget those things are not God’s intent. Have you considered how all things are supposed to work for good, or what others meant for evil, God meant them for good? See Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20. I know you have. Thus, the better question is, how do we retrain our thinking so those awful events become stepping stones to a more significant experience with God and practical usefulness for others? Here are five things for your consideration.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).