The power of remembering

Hi there, everyone. I'm Jared. And I'm Zanita. We are your hosts of Record Live, a podcast where we talk about church, faith, and living well. We believe as

followers of Jesus, faith is more than just a set of beliefs. It's a way of life, something we put into practice.

Let's go live.

 Zenita, it's another week of Record Live. Welcome back. Great to see your smiling face. How are you?

I'm good. I've been a little sick, so I've got like, I actually love having the sick voice. I think it's like, it's like I'm a new person for a few days. I think I equate it to a cartoon character. I don't know, I just feel different.

But, I'm good anyway. How are you?

Doing well, yeah. Ready for today's conversation. We're going to talk about the power of remembering. And this topic has come about because of an article that was in a recent edition of Record called Remembering in Writing. And we're going to share that link in the comments so that you guys can read it later.

, it'll be in the show notes on the podcast. So you can look it up and have a gander at what we're talking about today. But basically, talks about the importance of remembering now a few. Years ago I first stumbled across this, I guess this concept in these libraries and I think it was Denmark or one of those Scandinavian countries and they set up a library where you could borrow, and I'm doing the air quotes, an old person.

So, you would take them. out, as in to a little couch in a section of the library and you would ask them stories about their lives. They would share their experiences. They would share what life was like for them years ago. And it was, in a sense, it was designated living history , because they were people who had lived through experiences and you could.

consult them, you could ask them questions. , So it's a really fascinating concept.

There's also this, I don't know if you've ever heard of story booth. It was, , this, booth that was plonked in the center of Grand Central Terminal. In New York?

Like, I think it was just, 10 years ago, 2013. And it was, based on that idea of the last conversation. You know, there's always things you wish you knew about someone after they've passed. Or, you didn't get the opportunity to learn about this person. And so it was , this cool little booth that they set up, and say, if you just got off the train with your dad, you would, come across his booth and it was, like, set up for you to be able to have these, interesting conversations about your lives and they would have,, questions and stuff.

And then I think they set them up in multiple, , hot cities around the world and, , recorded them as well and you can, Listen to some of them if they get permission. And yeah, it's cool. It's a cool concept.

It is a cool concept, but why? I guess the question a lot of people might ask, and I guess the question that we're answering today is why?

Because the author, Dr. Daniel Reno, he. , an academic, he works at Avondale University and he's encouraging people to do this with their grandparents, with their parents as they get older to record their stories in whatever format is easy to do that in. And he has actually done that for his parents.

So he's actually written some memoirs of. His family stories and he's encouraging others to do it. But again, why it's a good Sociological sort of experiment. It's anthropologically good. It's good to record human history It may give insight to future generations. But why would we report on it in A church magazine in Adventist record and yeah, I guess why is it important for us as Christians as well is some of what we're going to unpack today.

So do you want to have a crack at answering the why question? Why are we doing this?

Yeah, I feel like there's so many different avenues I could go down, where to start. I feel like, just from a human perspective, we don't really remember, as much as we think., we have these long lives, but it's like, how much of your life can you actually, remember?

, you know that famous question,, what, okay, let me ask you, Jared, what's the first memory that you have?

Wow. Probably, probably being at my grandparents house as a really young kid.

Okay, and do you have any like photos that kind of spark that memory?

No It's just deeply annoying. ,

you just ruined my hypothesis. When I've been asked that question, I've answered, I've answered with this memory of like, Oh, I remember when I was a kid, I had these like red boots and I would like, I loved them so much that I would sleep in them.

And then I would get up in the morning and I would Crawl out of my bed with my boots on and go to the pool with my boots on still. Like I just didn't wanna take 'em off. And then someone asked me once, they were like, oh, do you have a photo of that? And I was like, yeah, I have a photo of like me in my bed with my red boots.

And I remember my parents telling me that story. And so since then I've asked people that question. Aside from you, Jared, but most other people, they'll answer being like, Oh yeah, I do have a photo of that, or I do remember my parents, , telling me that. So , a lot of the time, our first memories are not like, really our first memory that we don't have something attached to it.

Does that make sense?

So what you're suggesting, potentially, is that there's some trigger to that memory, or we think that we remember that because we've heard the story or seen the photo, told the story so many times that it becomes part of our lived experience. I guess for me, Reflecting on that a little bit to tell the story does help you remember it.

So I feel like the experiences, perhaps some of the experiences that are most memorable are also experiences, especially , in recent years that I've talked about, that I've told people, if I experience an event, if I go on a trip or something and don't write about it, talk about it, , show people photos at.

Different times and recount some of those stories. I actually forget they fade Until you might go back and look at some photos and you're like, oh, yeah that happened I've completely forgotten about that. But the actual process of actually telling the story helps you to remember it. So I guess that's one Telling a story helps you as the teller contain and to keep that memory, which may not seem significant at the time that it's happening, but if you tell the story a number of times until it becomes sort of your folklore, part of your life, your memory, it's the only real way that you might retain that information in 20 years time when your memory is a bit more hazy and yet you know that story because you've told the story a number of times.

Yeah, I think We're human, and I think as humans it's really easy to forget things. And I think when we forget things, that's when we tend to be like, woe is me,, I never get this, or this is, I don't know. I feel like we just tend to complain a bit more when we're forgetful. , we don't Remember all of the good things that have happened.

, it's like if I was to ask you, Oh, Jared, tell me about your year in 2021. Or maybe not 2021, because that was significant. Tell me about your year in 2017. What, like, what happened? What were you excited about? Like, what?

You picked a good one because 2017 is pretty blank. I could probably figure it out from working backwards and figuring out things, but 2017 was a pretty standard, pretty average.

Nothing, nothing jumps out. 2019, there was a lot of crazy stuff. Highlights and whatnot that I could easily tell you about. But 2017,

I don't know. I'm sure in 2017, there were like many good things that happened and there were many , answers to prayers, but we just don't remember them.

I think that's one of the important things about intentionally remembering and like recording things because otherwise we just forget so much.

So I think we've talked on this program before about like gratitude journal sort of thing. That's what you, what one application of this, I guess.

Yeah. One method, I suppose.

The Bible itself has a lot to say about remembering. Jesus sort of. Often drew on the prophets and the Old Testament. , he knew well his history, his, culture, his religion. He had those things really ready to go because he had learned them. , he remembered them.

He, , shared them. But in the Old Testament, especially as well, there's often this refrain remember. Remember, I am the Lord, your God, who took you out of Egypt. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. There's this command, almost this imperative for God's people to remember. And it's a very important thing that we don't often, we have lists of do and don't, right?

We know we should obey. God, we want to worship God, et cetera, but we don't intentionally remember. I don't think very well as a culture. Maybe it's our culture. Maybe it's our church community that we just don't have memory remembrance as a main sort of, Tenet of our faith.

I wonder if that's also because back and they had less distractions And so they probably did.

I don't know if when they're in the desert They can't fight every night, but they would have done a lot more like sitting I imagine or just walking and you know when you're hiking with someone It's like the only thing there is to do is to ask questions. So it's like We don't really have, we don't really find ourselves in those opportunities as much to just talk or to remember or to dwell on things.

I don't know, like in your day to day life, when do you find,, do you find yourself in those conversations often, or do you feel like you intentionally, do you have ways of remembering or? Do you feel like that's something that you have to, , dedicate time to, once a year or however

I think it's something that I lack in my life.

The opportunity to reflect, , busyness crowds that out in terms of The small things, the day to day decisions we make, , the perhaps significant or impactful events that happen to us, we don't get a lot of time to process them. We're just moving on to the next thing. I think the other thing I'll say about that is you need good friends, good family, good people around you to be able to go through this process.

You'll notice when you get together with old friends, like high school friends or old church friends, A lot of reminiscing and remembering takes place because you've got those shared experiences and they're from different angles, different impacts on different people, but , you can share those. But if you don't have that opportunity very often in your life, like you're not seeing old friends that often, you might see your family once a year for Christmas or something like that.

So you're not often getting those communal times to sit down around the table and to share some of the events that you've. Got ready to share that anew, or reminiscing on events that happened a long time ago, having that nostalgic reflection time. And I feel like something probably in my life that I could do with more of, to be honest, the idea of reflecting and remembering.

One area in my life where I. Probably do get the opportunity to do that a lot is when I write. So I have to crank out an editorial or an article quite often. And I have always in my writing tried to ground that in my own personal experiences. So that helps me to remember or to tell a story. Okay. I know this memory.

I have this memory of when I was in this situation. I've experienced such and such a thing and I wanna make a certain point, but how do I articulate that? How do I bring other people into that memory? How do I, help other people to relate to my experience so they can get something out of that? For me, that's an opportunity when I can do that.

Reflecting and remembering.

Yeah, if only there were more editors in the world.

Well, no, I guess this is the point. This is the point of the article. You don't have to be a writer or an editor to record your family history, to record your story. We've got a comment, , from Linnell. , in church, we have communion as a significant remembering service and perhaps Easter and Christmas serve to remind us of important past events.

Other denominations may practice more remembering events. , and the Jewish, the Jewish calendar, for example, is yeah, as Linnell says, it's all about remembering all the big events that they hold in their calendars, remembering,, Queen Esther saving them from. Destruction. They remember the Passover when God passed over the Egyptians.

It's a, it's a fundamental part of their culture and I think perhaps one that we lack

it's Jesus also implemented like the Lord's Supper. to show his disciples that he wanted death to be, like, remended in a certain way. And that's,, something that we still do, so. But do you think that, I don't know, you talk about nostalgia.

Do you think that, , God is, commanding us, like, nostalgia is quite, a joyful emotion. Do you think God is calling us to remember for the sake of,, that? Nostalgic kind of conversation. Or do you think he's like calling us to something deeper there?

I think, at least in the examples I gave, you know, remember that I brought you out of slavery. Remember the Sabbath and why it's significant. I think he's commanding us to remember , because as you said, we're humans, we forget things quite easily. I think we forget what God has done for us in our lives.

One of the , values that I see in sharing my testimony is that I remember what God has done for me. When I'm feeling down, when I'm having doubts and difficulties in my life, I'm like, yeah, I know this sucks right now, but remember what God did for me at that time? That was pretty bad. That was pretty dark.

And God pulled us through it. You know, he did such and such a thing. , One of the things that I think has influenced and shaped my life. Or my career as a writer, as a person who's passionate to tell stories, is reading missionary, testimonies, biographies. I think this is something that was a big part of my childhood, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

, I used to love to read and on Sabbath afternoons, I'd read testimonies from missionaries, basically, , some of the, hair books, people like David Livingston, Hudson Taylor, Adventist missionaries doing different things around the world. , Pacific press has a whole suite of these kinds of stories.

And those books really shapes my understanding of God and my conviction to follow him. And I think it was a. It's like a communal remembering, right? It's like stories of what God has done for someone. Gives me courage, it bolsters my faith because if God can do that for them, he can do something for me.

Maybe not as dramatic, maybe not as crazy as bringing me back from the dead or,, healing certain diseases or breaking me out of jail because I've been locked up for my faith. But God will be there when I need him. God is present when I need him. And so I think that's one thing that really shaped my life.

Another thing that shaped my life in the sphere of remembering was my mom herself, her stories of growing up in Fiji. She was a missionary kid and she grew up with her parents serving in the mission field. Now, because she was just a kid, her memories don't involve a lot of. the theological conversations that were going on at the time.

They weren't about what sort of message should be brought to the mission fields or any of that. It wasn't a deeply spiritual thing, but every time she reminisced on her experiences, how much she loved growing up there, how much she, valued, , Having that impact in her life colored my understanding of what we do as a family is serve, overseas.

What we do as a family is this and that, , this is how our history is. This is what my grandparents did. They gave up, careers and lives and became Adventists, and then became missionaries. And . That's something that colored, shaped my childhood growing up. So in that way, I think these stories are so important in that we don't know the impact they can have

and I, growing up, I used to think, Oh, I don't really have a testimony. I've been a pretty good Adventist kid my whole life. I'm just sort of cruising through, but little realizing that the stories of those who have gone before me have really shaped me as a person. And, , now that I have the opportunity to write and to share stories.

Perhaps are shaping other people that I don't know anything about, or perhaps even just will shape my kids lives when they grow older. If I can tell them stories about my life, about my parents lives, about my grandparents lives, then they can make decisions like that. , I feel like I've talked for way too long, Zanita.

What about you? Do you have any significant memories or family stories that really have shaped you as a person that you think, yeah, that's something that's, really made an impact in your life? Yeah.

I think when we talk about stories, we like, I think we have to have these huge life changing events that happen for them to be noteworthy.

Um, I know , my Nana, She used to write a diary, like, she basically has a diary entry for every day of her life, and, when we were growing up, she would, instead of reading us books, she would just read us, , her diaries, and , we would, hear about her in the war, and we'd hear about her on these, , she used to, perform on cruise ships, and we'd hear about, , the first time she rode a bike, and, , we'd just hear all these stories, , and, I don't know, that was just like really like enjoyable for us as children and I think when she passed away, I was writing her eulogy and I was going through these journals thinking like I, I would know all of them and there was so many things that she like left out because I guess she's just like humble leaving out the stories where she's actually doing incredible things in other countries and just left out all of these incredible things and I was like, wow, I had.

No idea, but there was even stories in there where it was just like things that were very like normal and relatable that it's, oh yeah, I can relate to this person who experienced this 80 years ago and I'm experiencing the same thing like right now and it's to have that kind of, I don't know that like same experience that someone you can see how someone has traveled through and you can see how someone is healed and grown through certain things that you're in the midst of is like really encouraging.

It's kind of like what you said. It's like just these, just like these small examples of people getting through things or people, I don't know, like trusting in God and moving through that is really powerful, I think

yeah, we're getting some great comments through. , I really like this one. Remember growing up as a Solomon Islander and listening to our traditional folklore as bedtime stories to instill values and history. The more we recognize, give time and appreciate the faith of our elders will go a long way in empowering the younger generation.

I think that certainly played a role. And in many of our lives, my grandfather did have a memoir in the end, , that was put together just sort of for the family. Very creatively titled things. I remember. , But yeah. I've read it and it just is another piece of the puzzle of who, who am I as a person?

Why do I have the faith that I have? , obviously we have to all make an individual decision on our faith, but some of those things in the difficult and dark times, as I said, has really, shaped who we are today.

David. Oscar's shared some really good verses with us. , people can check them out.

Some 103, verse two and some eight 68 verse 19 says blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits. , so some good. Thoughts to meditate on.

Awesome. That's why the young flock to Taylor Swift., I actually had a conversation with someone yesterday. I don't really know that much about Taylor Swift, but , my friend obviously is a big fan and I was like, what?

Like, what is the draw? Like, why is everyone so In love with Taylor Swift. And she just said, , she's relatable. Like her stories are just like, no matter what age you are, what you're going through, like her stories, people can resonate with and yeah, I just found that in an interesting response. I think another thing I'll say is, , when we talk about stories that have passed down to us, I think it's like.

really helpful when we're young because you know how a lot of people say that line like you gotta live to learn. I think there's so much that we can draw from other people's stories so that we don't have to repeat mistakes. And I think it that's something that the bible also talks about is like learning from Those who've gone before you and so on.

Definitely. Especially if we can avoid some of the mistakes that our elders have made. We can't always do that. Sometimes we're slow learners. But it is good to have those stories and have those experiences to draw on and the wisdom. I think, , learning from our elders is a very undervalued, value.

I didn't want to repeat that word, but I tangled up. , It's an undervalued, principle, in our culture, particularly in the Western context. In some cultures, it's very, there's a lot of respect for your elders, there's a lot of passed down knowledge and information that comes from generations that have gone before.

But I feel like in our culture, , we live far from our parents. Sometimes we put our old people in nursing homes and we don't have that experience of sitting at their feet and learning from them, , getting to know them, hearing their stories and then understanding, , yes, there's a lot of differences, but actually., there's a lot of similarities. There's a lot of shared experiences there. , and I think it's something we've maybe lost. I don't know what your perspective is, but I feel like we've lost it in our culture a little bit, and I'm not sure how to get it back. But this is one way, listening to our elders and making intentional time to record their stories for them even, is one way that's a really good start, to start those conversations, to spend quality time with our elders.

Yeah, there's a really, There's a cool, this isn't a plug or a sponsorship, by the way, we don't get those, but there is this website you can go to called Storyworth, and I know a few people have, they've , they've used it, it's basically like you buy a gift for someone, and each week they get an email, and it's like a question about their

life or their past or any advice they have or whatever or their And then at the end of the year, it's bound into a book and sent to the person, and it's really cool. It's like, you can choose. I think each week you get sent like a few questions and you can choose and it's just like an awesome way to, I guess get in that habit of, sharing your story with your family or with loved ones or yeah, because I think it's something that we do have to be intentional about.

Like, , this isn't just going to happen. , unless someone starts creating 60 second reels on Instagram about old people sharing lessons from the past, then it's just, it's something that we have to be intentional about and make time for.

And I guess that's where the family worship, we've already talked this year about family worship, , dinnertime conversations.

I know you've written in the past Zanita about the value of eating together at different times. And I guess some of those times, if we put our devices away, we sit and we eat together. It's a really great opportunity to be able to actually. Reflect and unpack and tell family stories and have a laugh about what happened to so and so, you know, , when they're too many wild passion fruits or whatever the story is, , in our family past, it's like, oh, okay, well, now we're getting to know each other better.

Now we're deepening and strengthening those relationships. , It's, I understand why we have split Sabbath school classes into age. Ages, but there is value. A lot of studies are showing the value in intergenerational churches. communities. And that's one thing that church can do for us. You know, maybe in our peer group, maybe in our workspace, we don't work with that many people outside of our generation, but at church you're, I don't want to say forced, but you're almost put into a situation where we're all in the church together.

We're all church family and we're all from different. Occupations, different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different generations, and yet we all have to get along and find a way to grow and to be more like Jesus together. And I think that's a real beautiful thing about church is that we have that opportunity in that community to be truly multi generational, even when we've lost that in our society.

And I would say even like. Well, it's a record live, so I'm assuming most people are Christians, but even if you don't go to church, I think there are like, opportunities where you can ask people about their lives. I think, we tend to shy away from that because we're like, is that weird? Is that interrogating?

But I think people are a bit more willing than we think to share stories, things like that. I guess we've mentioned a few things, but like, practically speaking, Jared, are there other ways in which you, suggest or you could brainstorm in how we can get in the habit of Remembering and sharing and recording our stories.

You beat me to it. I was going to throw the practical finale at you.. Going back to the article, , that Daniel Reno wrote for us. Let me offer you some tips to recording your life. He says, probably the hardest part is starting as a writer. I concur.

Sometimes it's hard to just start. The key is simply to start anywhere. You don't have to create an orderly chronological account from the get go. Instead, write memories as they come to you. They can always be organized later on, , team up with family members. Don't try and do it all in one go. And. Avoid writing with only the best bits.

Avoid sort of airbrushing, whitewashing the story. I think that it's really important to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, because that's what we have in the Bible . The Bible narrative has all the worst bits of humanity wrapped up in all the best bits of God. And I think that's where we make our stories impactful and important, is when we don't Gloss over or glaze over the difficult parts.

I think that's where some of the true lessons and some of the things that we can learn. So, yeah, I would say read Daniel's article, get some of those tips, just start and really have a crack. Because I think recording our stories is an incredibly important experience, not only for us, but for our family and for future generations.

Awesome. What about you?

I I would say, I think it's kind of a personal, I think find something that works for you. I think we often tend to talk about writing and I think writing is great and I love writing and have multiple journals for different things, but I know everyone doesn't love that.

And so I know like my Nana and Grandpa used to voice record things. I think that can be another way we can do things or like. You can scrapbook, or you can just, , take photos and write little things next to them. , obviously you can write, and I think it's a good point that you made as well, , writing as you go.

, not just, , you know, if you save one day at the end of the year, then you're gonna have a lot to write about, and you're probably also gonna forget a lot, so it's like, doing it bit by bit is awesome. And, yeah, just making that time, like we said, we have to eat together anyway, we have to eat, so why not eat with others, and why not, , bring those conversations up when we are, .

, I don't know if you've noticed this, Jarrod, there's a new app that when you need, you know when you get an iPhone, and , it has those apps on it already? There's a new app called Journal, and it's it's like made to record memories, and , I'm not personally using it, but it is on your phone as like a permanent app.

So if that's something that you find useful, then Apple's got your back there.

There you go. And also think about your children, gifting them. Memories, my two little kids can't read yet, but we've set up email accounts for them with their name so that it's easy for them later on. And we're sending them emails, particularly on their birthday, but, , at other times when they do memorable or funny little things, we're sending them, some photos and some emails and things that they can,

reflect on when they're older. So we hope that that will be a really fun time of remembering. I think we've run out of time today. It's been great to, we've had some great comments as well coming from our audience today. So keep those coming. , we love that you're watching along and joining the conversation with us.

If you're listening on the podcast, it'd be great to, Continue to subscribe to that and to follow us so you can get every episode as it comes out each week. , great to have you joining us with this important conversation and we'll see you again next week. God bless you all.

See you later.

The power of remembering
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