Friday, 11 November 2016

On Remembrance

David Runcorn writes:
To remember is not to recall a memory (though that is part of it of course). To re-member is to re-connect with what has, for whatever reason, been dis-membered.

To re-member is not to look back into the past but to bring into the present all that has brought us to this point, and shaped who we are, for good or ill. We are to live in remembrance. Those who do not re-member are not present either. There can be no healing until we are present to the wounds, to the fractures of our story and history. Bids for new futures, attempts at renewal that do not flow from careful remembrance may look pious and visionary, but they are actually escape bids.


Never has the concept of remembrance been explained so clearly or so evocatively: ‘To re-member is to re-connect with what has . . . been dis-membered’!

No wonder Jesus tells us break bread and drink wine in remembrance of him­—how else can we connect with our risen and exalted Lord except through the elements transformed by his Spirit?

No wonder practices such as the Daily Office are important—how else shall we connect with the Source of our being unless we are purposeful in remembering our Source?

And how true Runcorn’s later words are, too:

There can be no healing until we are present to the wounds, to the fractures of our story and history. Bids for new futures, attempts at renewal that do not flow from careful remembrance may look pious and visionary, but they are actually escape bids.

Remembering our past, however painful or pleasant, is what allows us now to move forwards into the future.

7 comments:

  1. Brilliant post - so agree with all of this. Really important stuff!

    And phew, at last a topic where I'm not disagreeing with you ;)

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    1. Disagreement ain't that bad . . . not when it's done properly and with a desire for truth.

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  2. Very true - I just feel uncomfortable disagreeing with people I like, for deep-seated psychological childhood reasons! :)

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  3. I feel uncomfortable disagreeing as well, to be honest - though it's because I feel that everyone should agree with me!

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  4. What an excellent summation of the act of remembrance.

    One question: why the elephant thingy from Star Wars?

    This also made me think of my mother-in-law, who is very much in my thoughts atm because since she came out of hospital a month ago and went back to the care home where she has lived for the past three years, her dementia has worsened. Where before my dear MIL would not exactly know where she was, but felt ok, now she has no clue from one minute to the next and is constantly asking where she is. She is worried and confused when we tell her, gently, that this is where she lives. And then like utter b******s we go and leave her in a strange place where she knows no one. No doubt she forgets that we were even there five minutes later, poor old thing, but it is awful to lose one's ability to remember.

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    1. To clarify, it wasn't the elephant thingy that made me think of my mother-in-law, it was the post o_O

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  5. I'm sure. ;)

    An elephant never forgets, and so I thought a picture of Max Rebo would be suitable for a post on remembrance. Although, of course, Max Rebo is an Ortolan, not an elephant as such.

    I've had very few encounters with dementia sufferers. There's an elderly care home nearby where I met one or two. One lady was very sweet, but I often found myself answering the same question from her again and again, often within the space of one or two minutes. She remembered more about her younger days than anything else. In some respects, it's a privilege to listen to someone who clearly has some very vivid memories, however old. But I can imagine if it's someone you've known for a very long time, especially if they're a relative, that it's very difficult to see, too.

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