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Monday, April 22, 2013

Remembering?

Remember:  Keep in mind; remain aware of; recall.  For most of us, memory is a terrific thing - as long as what is remembered brings some kind of enjoyment.  When a memory is sad, or almost frightful, it terrorizes the soul and muddles the mind with its effect.  We all have different faculties for remembering things - for some, the mind is like a steal trap - nothing gets out.  For others, it is like a sieve, with many tiny holes which allow things to just plain leak out!  Is a memory ever totally erased?  I don't think so - it is there somewhere - we just may not recall it as easily or feel the same association with the memory as we once did.  It is possible to remember the details of some things and then totally forget those of another, isn't it?  If you don't believe me, try to tell me the definition of a an isosceles trapezoid! I knew that definition backward and forward while I was actually taking and practicing geometric equations, but today?  Nope!  I can tell you it has something to do with being able to divide the object in two and both sides have equal pieces - but my definition does not do justice to the real description of this trapezoid!  Memory - it can be both good and bad; here and gone; limited and expansive; or even fragile and strong.

Remember what you said to me, your servant— I hang on to these words for dear life! These words hold me up in bad times; yes, your promises rejuvenate me. The insolent ridicule me without mercy, but I don’t budge from your revelation. I watch for your ancient landmark words, and know I’m on the right track. But when I see the wicked ignore your directions, I’m beside myself with anger. I set your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way. I meditate on your name all night, God, treasuring your revelation, O God. Still, I walk through a rain of derision because I live by your Word and counsel.  (Psalm 119:49-56 MSG)

There are tons of scriptures which actually ask us to remember - to recount, remain aware of, keep constantly in mind.  This morning, I'd like us to consider just a couple of things about our minds and our memories:

1. It is a blessing to have our memory functioning.  As mom ages, I watch as she sometimes struggles with remembering even the simplest things such as what you call an object she has been familiar with all her years on this earth. I frequently hear her say she is really not of much "use" with her memory failing.  It almost terrorizes her to be losing the small portion of her faculties she has lost.  For a woman of 94 years of age, she is doing marvelously well, but even the smallest portion of memory lost is a huge "deficit" to her.  Why? Probably because she equates her usefulness with her ability to recall and recount.  She can no longer cook because she cannot remember the steps she used to take in preparing those awesome dishes we kids grew up enjoying.  We should never once ever discount the blessing of memory - never take it for granted - for once it is gone, no amount of "straining" helps to bring it back!

2. The brain has much capacity - the ability to both receive and retain.  These two functions of the brain make it both a blessing and a curse!  What we allow in (receive) has the potential of being retained (kept around for a really long time).  Therefore, what we "allow in" should be what we want to "keep around".  As a child, I saw some "horror" flicks in good old black and white cinema-vision.  Those "horror" flicks involved things like some genetically mutated spiders growing to massive proportions, then spinning webs the size of a football field, and roaming through towns to find food into the wee hours of the night!  Now, my brother wasn't supposed to let me watch these, but when we were left alone, him "supervising" me, no telling what could happen! Those images terrorized me many a night!  You know, I can still recall some of the details of those movies to this day!  Why?  Simply because our mind has capacity - to retain and recall!  We need to be vigilant in "supervising" what we allow in - it affects us a long, long time!

3. You have probably heard me say that memory and heart are connected in some respect - what enters into our mind somehow affects our heart.  Why?  It is important to remember the biblical reference to "heart" is not to the beating organ in our chest.  It is a reference to the center of our emotions, buried deep within the brain.  So memory has the ability to affect the heart because they are part of the same brain!  Our "heart" is the seat of our emotions - as such, we find ourselves "setting" our hearts on certain things which are able to "feed" or "deny" certain emotions.  As we learn what "feeds" an emotion, we are actually putting it into memory.  The memory then goes to that particular "remembered" thing as the basis of producing the same emotion again in the future.  Perhaps you don't see much of an issue with this, but if the "emotion" sparked a memory which feeds some habit which is harmful to us or another, then the memory is really working against us.  Therefore, we are urged to "guard our heart" - keeping careful watch over our emotions and the memories we form!

4. Last, but definitely not least, the mind has a tremendous faculty for creating - almost creating something out of nothing at times.  We are given the ability to imagine - using our "mind's eye" to see beyond the evident or apparent.  I think this might be our mind's part in the development of faith.  We "see" what is unseen - "perceive" what seems to be imperceptible.  As such, the mind has some kind of "productive" purpose - it helps us to "develop" thought - making "sense" out of things.  When something seems to be a challenge to us - we exercise some mental faculty to "perceive" - but when something escapes our understanding, we need some "help" outside of our memory - we need the Creator himself!  Just sayin!