It may not be a ‘life rule’, but I think that it’s accurate to say that folks romanticize past positive experiences to a point that the memory of the event is much more positive than the initial experience. I guess folks do the same with bad experiences – with the memory amplifying the experience in a negative way. Though the traditional wisdom on negative experiences seems to be that they fade with time. I don’t know. I do think, however, that when we try to recreate the past positive experiences they usually pale in comparison to our memory.
You can’t go back home, right?
In this week’s Bible reading from Isaiah 43:16-21, the prophet announces that God is going to do a new thing. But just before that announcement there’s a brief warning not to romanticize the events from the past and expect that this new things is going to be just like the things from before.
Romanticizing the past –
The people of Israel – who were living in exile when the prophet from Isaiah 43 spoke – romanticized the past.
They were a people delivered out of bondage in Egypt
They were a people who walked through the sea – while their would-be captors were drowned.
They were a people wandering in the wilderness for a generation.
They were a people at Sinai – getting the 10 commandments
They were a people who finally made it to the promised land
They were a people who had been thrown out of their land
They were a people with a strong history, but without a place to call home.
And they looked back at the events that defined them and remembered the glory days. ‘That’s what we have to get back to! When we get all that back we will be whole again!”
But things really don’t work that way.