We remember the fish we used to eat.
The Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Optional Memorial)
Have you ever heard of selective memory? Psychologists say that it’s not as rare as we might think. People tend to remember some facts about the past while apparently forgetting others, especially the inconvenient or difficult ones. It often shows itself as nostalgia for the past, especially in comparison to present difficulties.
You can certainly see this principle at work in today’s first reading (Numbers 11:5). Bored with their desert diet of manna every morning, the children of Israel looked back longingly on their meals in Egypt. But they conveniently forgot that they had eaten those meals as slaves. How could they fall prey to such negativity?
Let’s face it—we can all suffer from selective memory. It’s easy to feel dissatisfied with the present when you’re comparing it with an idealized past. That dissatisfaction can even go so far as to make us wonder, like the Israelites, whether God is really taking care of us.
So how do we counteract this tendency? We can retrain our memories so that we are focusing on the things that are important to us. Instead of spending all our time comparing our current situation to the “good old days,” or dwelling only on bad experiences, we can focus our memories on times when we knew God was looking out for us. We can recount moments of grace and joy and turn our attention toward the good things God has done—not only for us, but also for the people around us.
The more you practice this type of active, positive remembering, the more deeply you will be convinced that God is trustworthy. As you remind yourself of his faithfulness, you will begin to rely on him more, and the temptation to worry or complain will diminish. Bitterness over your current challenges will slowly give way to trust and confidence that God will never abandon you and that he is walking with you every step of the way.
God wants to help you look toward the future with hope. Let him remind you that the One who has been faithful to you so far will always take care of you.
“Lord, help me remember the ways you have been faithful to me. Help me to trust that you are loving and generous.”
Word Among Us