Our core memories have a strong affect. A bad memory can paralyze us in anger, fear and helplessness. A good memory can free us to joy, hope and confidence. But our memory isn’t static. It changes over time. Remembering rightly is difficult because our desires and our fears often reshape our memories; especially when we value self-protection, affirmation, revenge, or comfort more than truth.
Miroslav Volf examines the role that memory plays in the lives of victims (and even abusers) in his book The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in A Violent World. He clarifies God’s persistent call to remember responsibly in order to heal comprehensively. He illustrates how the story of Jesus Christ gives unique resources, especially the necessary courage, to face even the most painful memories with truth and grace. He writes with hope-filled humility and provides readers with a framework useful to redeem even their darkest memory and then set them on a trajectory toward a timely and healthy forgetfulness.
Volf writes vulnerably as a fellow pilgrim and wisely as a disciplined academic. He is currently a Professor of theology at Yale Divinity School. But, in 1984 he was summoned to compulsory military service in, then communist, Yugoslavia. He was suspected of being a spy for the CIA simply for being married to an American woman and the son of a pastor. His every step was monitored by secret police and his every word recorded by big brother. He endured long-term arrest, aggressive interrogations, and psychological abuse. He was threatened with 8 years of prison and denied an open trial. He suffered most intensely under his inquisitor “Captain G”. Volf’s real life story is a powerful testimony to the unique resources Christianity gives to people imprisoned by dark memories.
If you want to discover increased freedom from the dark memories that steal your joy and hope; or you know a friend who needs support and encouragement, this book can help.