String Finger

I think that my memory is improving as I get older . . . seriously. I know all the jokes and I have told most of them. We all tend to talk about failing memory as we age. While it may be true in certain ways, it is not true in every way.

It is more important to me to remember, at this stage of my life, than it has ever been. I want my memory to serve as a life-coach so that I benefit from every experience that comes my way . . . the hard lessons and the easier ones.

You think that you learn forever from negative or painful experience but the passing of time dulls the pain, the memory and its embedded lesson. I have always marvelled at people who have gone through open heart surgery, suffered the angst of anticipation and the aftermath of the operation. They change their diet and their lifestyle if they want the best result. So many fall back into the old habits in a relatively short time. It would seem that there is a memory issue here. I have that same tendency . . . I think that most people do.

I had selective memory as a younger man. I deliberately forgot about the things that I didn’t want to do, thinking that forgetting was an excuse. Someone told me one day, in frustration, that forgetting was never an excuse. That made me mad and it rocked my world . . . bringing me closer to reality and responsibility. I wish I could remember who told me . . .

Bitterness is the result of being unwilling to forget. The world is full of bitter people . . . there are a few in the church . . . okay . . . there are way too many in the church.

In the opening eight chapters of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses’ mission was to try to impress upon the new generation that they couldn’t afford to forget God and all the lessons that they had access to in “Desert School”. They were the graduates. Everyone else was gone except for Moses, Joshua and Caleb. These words were spoken on the east side of the Jordan to people who would go forward to possess the west. Moses wasn’t going. He had forgotten to listen to God before responding to people. We should all remember this practice. When people make you so mad that you forget to “listen” to God then you are likely to make mistakes. You can read the details in the Book.

I am writing on Remembrance Day Sunday, the Sunday preceding November 11th. We are trying to take our hearts back to battlefields, acts of heroism, selflessness, compelling causes. I can get my mind there easily but my heart is dull for lack of personal experience. Still I am better for the effort . . . all of us are. Oh yes . . . I have an unnamed pastor that I worked with for 14 years who turns 70 on Remembrance Day . . . also one of my good running buddies . . . well he’s not 70.

Bless you in these days as we gratefully reflect on the goodness of God and the sacrifice of those who have made the world a better place.