Sunday, October 5, 2008

Flippin' Through the Mind Channels

Have you ever had one of those really bizarre thoughts that made you think afterward "where in the world did that come from?" That happened to me today. In very much the same way you might be reading something online and then suddenly follow a link trail and end up reading a series of rather distantly related topics, my mind often works like that. Like flipping channels with the remote.

First, I heard a song on the radio that made me feel like crying. Then, I thought of someone I know and how his voice sometimes gives away the pain he's had in his life, even when he's smiling when he's speaking. Then, I recalled a friend mentioning to me recently that sometimes weeping is good. Then, from there I thought about how God intentionally designed us to be able to cry, and wondered how that whole process works. Then, I remembered a story I used to tell when I was a little girl about how I was born without tear ducts and had to have them surgically implanted. What? I have no idea where I got that idea, but somehow in my wild little imagination I actually thought it was true. I think I may have overheard my mom talking to someone once about the birth defects I do have (nerve damage in the left side of my face) and somehow came away with the whole tear duct story. This led me to ponder the way kids remember things (or re-tell them) as opposed to the way adults remember things. Sometimes, the same two people can recount the same situation and depending on age, it can come out as almost a completely different story.

Oftentimes when I hear my own kids recall a memory I find it interesting how they remember it so differently than I do. I suppose my own mom had those same thoughts when I started telling her about things that went on when I was clearly to little to remember anything, until of course I started giving her details of things there's no way I could have known, unless I was both there, and did in fact remember it. Like the floral pattern on my gma's basement window curtains, that gma got rid of when I was a year old. Funny thing is, I can still remember exactly what they looked like, and I always have.

I never really realized how unusual my memory is, until the first time my oldest daughter was crying as a baby, and I actually recognized her cry as one of pure frustration. I knew she didn't need her diaper changed, and I knew she didn't need fed, or burped, or bathed. All her obvious needs had been met but she was still crying. Something about the tone of her cry clicked with me and I instantly remembered crying just like that when I was too little to speak and simply say "mommy, I want you to hold me". It was a purely emotional cry, I wanted snuggles from my mommy! That IS what I wanted, but I didn't know how to say it because I didn't know how to speak yet. So, I cried. Just like she was crying. I picked her up and held her and she instantly stopped crying and I just snuggled with her fluffy, pudgy little baby-self. Over the years all of my kids have cried that frustrated "mommy, I can't speak yet!" cry, and I've always recognized it, because I remember when I used to do it.

This oddball thought led me to wondering why then, my memory is so often filled with holes. I can remember the most trivial details about the most unimportant things, and yet when it comes to daily routines and "things to do" that need to be done, sometimes these things slip my mind and I'm bonking myself in the forehead. I can remember what someone was wearing the first time I met them (no matter how long ago it was), but I can't remember to do the most mundane tasks.

That oddball thought also led me to think about how even from the cradle, God's design for human beings was to have other human contact. Created then to be socially interactive (even introverts need hugs!), why are there so many that profess Christ but think they can "have church" sitting in their comfy pants eating greasy sub sandwiches and hitting the reply button on Christian forums and blogs, or with their earbuds in listenin to Preacher Joe all day long? That's not church, nor is it in any way being part of a local body of believers where you can serve, and be served, fellowship with, grow with, learn from, pray with and praise the Lord together.

Due to a monumental sinus headache now entering day 4, I missed church today, and I missed all that. Insert huge pouty face here. While I dearly treasure the solid resources online from devoted brothers and sisters, you just can't "do church" in your comfy pants from your laptop, no matter what anyone says.

Yes, the mind is indeed a rather strange place, sometimes.


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