Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Memory-- Long Lost, Long Remembered

Yesterday I went to our local nursing home to do visitation. Over two hours, I sat and spoke to about eight people.

When you get old, your memory isn't what it used to be. You can't carry on much of a conversation. Sometimes too, you just don't have the energy to say much. Then, it can get compounded when the annoying preacher stops by, so he can tell the church he's doing his job.

Many of the people I visit I've known for years. I knew them when they lived in their own homes, came to church each week, and carried on engaging conversations. These dear people are incredibly interesting and full of fascinating accomplishments.

But now their memories are largely gone. My 100 year old friend doesn't remember my name anymore. My long time member doesn't know what day it is. Another spends most of the day sitting in a chair fidgeting.

So I come by and I start talking-- about the weather outside, about the yard work I just completed, or something funny my children did. In response, my old friends give a smile, a chuckle or two, or a short verbal response. They're listening, but it's me carrying the conversation.

But yesterday I was particularly struck by what my friends still remember. When I read Psalm 23, I saw lips repeating the words. When I said the Lord's prayer, another voice joined in. When I sang "Amazing Grace," a face grinned ear-to-ear. Much has been forgotten, but much is still there.

I went home wondering, "If I make it to their age, what will I remember?"

I'm sure I'll forget a lot.

But I pray I'll remember the One who promises never to forget me.

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