Yesterday was the anniversary of 9/11. I remember where I was and who I talked to when it happened - sixteen years ago. It struck me yesterday that when a national tragedy occurs we remember. When personal trauma and tragedy occurs we expect people to forget.
Let me explain- I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. As an adult, I have heard for years how I just needed to forget the past. In the church, I heard how I wasn't trusting God enough since I seemed stuck in the past. In the world I heard just move on, forget about it. My question has always been, how do you forget? The answer is you can't. You can't forget trauma.
Trauma becomes embedded in who you are.
A Duke University Study found a 62% increase in the risk for anxiety disorders in people who experienced early trauma. It also revealed structural changes in the brains of those experiencing early trauma. These findings don't mean trauma dictates the rest of your life. They simply mean the effects of trauma are real.
The obvious irony of yesterday, I had never noticed before. When the nation, or groups of people suffer, a great trauma we are encouraged to remember. When an individual suffers great trauma we are encouraged to forget. Doesn't make sense to me but it is what it is.
Just offering a gentle reminder to think twice, before telling someone to forget.
We remember as a nation, while we are all holding our own individual memories. You can do both and do it well. Honor and hold your personal tragedies as you honor, hold, and grieve national trauma and tragedies.