Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Improving Your Memory?

A friend recently sent me this joke.

(The picture above has nothing to do with the joke.
In fact it's far from a joke and I never intended it to be here.
Explanation at the end of the  post.)

This is the joke -

 An older couple are having a few health problems.
During a checkup, the doctor tells them they're physically okay,
but they might want to start writing things down
to help them remember …

Later that night, while watching TV,
 the old man gets up from his chair. 
'Want anything while I'm in the kitchen?' he asks.
'Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?'

'Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?' she asks.
'No, I can remember it.'
'Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too.
Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?'
He says, 'I can remember that.
You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.'
'I'd also like whipped cream.
I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down!' 
Irritated, he says, 'I don't need to write it down,
I can remember it!
Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream .
What's to forget?'
Then he toddles into the kitchen. 

After about 20 minutes,
the old man returns from the kitchen
and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs.
She stares at the plate for a moment, and asks,
'Where's my toast ?'

It's true,
 things do tend to "slip your mind" a bit more the older you get;
though of course I wouldn't know about that yet. (Ahem)!

In school we used the faculty of memory quite a bit , 
learning tables, poetry, and lots of stuff by rote,
but I'd not done anything like that for years.
Recently  however, I started to memorise scripture.

Quite a bit had stuck in my memory through the years
but I've never set out to really learn it this way before.

I decided to tackle the book of Ephesians,
and simply write out a verse at a time learn it and add it to the rest
as soon I feel I've committed it fully to memory.

It's going slowly, 
not (to my surprise) because I'm finding it hard to retain, 
but because I'm finding
 I want to linger with one verse for a good long time,
and there is no hurry.

This method of reading scripture is rather like lectio divina*,
in as much as you are slowed right down to let the words 
and the life in them sink deeply, 
to be savoured and enjoyed.

Now there's a word!

I've been struck by the repetition, in the opening verses of Ephesians,
at just how much God takes pleasure,
actually finds pleasure,
in GIVING to us.

through, and in Christ.

 (Good definition of grace - God's Riches At Christ's Expense)

Now because I can never look at anything
without seeing the other side of it,
I know only too well that much of the stuff of life 
is anything but the gift we would want.

There is suffering, and pain,
darkness and desolation. 
I've written and spoken about the mystery of this
at length elsewhere, 
but just for now I want to encourage you to look for 
the "gift" within the hard place.

(and I do speak from experience), 
for one reason or another we are too overwhelmed to do this.

Just the act of even metaphorically lifting our eyes is too much.

The psalms are full of folks just like us,
who feeling bereft of everything,
even their faith,
still cry out to the seeming void.

If this is you, then don't berate yourself.

Don't be afraid if you find yourself berating God.

His heart is still towards you, 
and FOR you, 
even now;
even in this.

You may ask me,
(especially as I am not immune from darkness myself)
how I can be so confident?

Maybe just because I am so familiar with darkness.
And that even so, 
given I stumble and struggle from time to time still, 
I am somehow, 
despite myself,
  kept, and brought through the darkness 
to know again the fullness of the "gift",
and the pleasure of the giver.

May we find the gift of joy in
the gift of life today.

God Bless

Oh yes, the drawing at the start of the post 
is taken from my journal and for some reason,
though it wasn't done for others,
I feel it's important to share it . 

It's my experience in the recovery room back in May. 

The chap in the centre is the anaesthetist, 
then there's me,
 and the two nurses caring for me in recovery. 

It's an attempt to show those moments of struggle
when one's body has to all intents and purpose shut down 
accept for the mind that searches,
in it's panic, for a means to get out of this place.  

It was at that moment that I knew,
not for the first time, that we were not alone, 
and that as dark as it seemed,
there was light unseen yet present,
in the One who is both giver and gift.
He is the real centre of the drawing.

P.S.  if you want to know more about the lectio divina method of reading scripture click on 

No comments:

Post a Comment