On the second anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, the students and teacher at The Way of Life Bible Institute in Richmond, Virginia discussed a question that was asked:
Why do we remember what we were doing when a catastrophe or a significant event happened?
Several answers were profound.
One person said, “We remember what we were doing because the extraordinary is readily memorable, whereas the ordinary things (like driving to work or attending a meeting) are mundane and our brains operate on “auto pilot.”
Another person said, “Usually, national tragedies bring people together quicker and the memories last longer than an individual tragedy. You might not remember when a family member died; however, you might remember the exact day of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.”
Another student said, “We always remember what we were doing during significant events because that’s one way of keeping the memories alive.”
One person said, “I don’t know why it is, but we seem to always be intrigued with the idea of where we were and what we were doing at the exact time a historical event occurs. People do not find it odd to be asked what they were doing when 9/11 happened? That’s our way of relating to the event.”
The teacher concluded that it is probably because we align ourselves with the event by remembering. Not only do we remember what we were doing, but we might also remember what we were wearing at the time. Those memories have embedded themselves within our mind partly because we are saying to ourselves, “Remembering is the least I can do.”
Catastrophes, tragedies and unexpected events seem to hold a fascination because significant events become signposts in our own lives.
The teacher related that she can remember exactly the time and place she was when John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated and when Michael Jackson died. She remembered what she was wearing and the people around her. She hears the sounds and smells the air and feels what she felt as if it is happening again. She is translated back in time to when the event happened.
It is good to remember. However, it good to turn bad memories into good ones. We can do that by simply thinking about the good things that came out of bad experiences.
READ this tribute to Michael Jackson on the 2nd anniversary of his death written by a fellow examiner.