How many times does the word REMEMBER appear in the Bible? According to Bible Gateway, 231 times.
Husband Jim has trouble remembering. He lives in a small, 30-second bubble: What day is it? What year? A challenge for both of us, especially in the art of apology.
Another whole world, though, is hidden away in his brain. He drives well, mows the lawn, writes poems for Facebook. One conversation, glued to his mind, stems from our dating year at Wheaton. We were talking at the Lagoon, and in a quiet spell, I asked, “What are you thinking about?” He looked at me. “I’m thinking of asking you to marry me.” I responded with a giant hug, and he said, “I take that as a yes.” He trots out that memory, almost daily! He also remembers driving to New Jersey on Christmas Day, a diamond ring in his pocket.
His first assignment on entering Roxbury Latin, his six-year “high school,” was to memorize the Lord’s Prayer in Latin, to be prayed every day in chapel. He can still say, “Pater noster qui es in caelis, sanctificetur Nomen Tuum.”
I think Jim started singing at birth. A genetic music maker, he began on piano, then gravitated to organ, which he still plays. He needed written music, though, and could not extemporize without a page in front of him. HOWEVER, after his brain erosion, he began playing the piano with a fine sense of chord, key, and mood sequences, recognizable patterns, and an appropriate ending. His music speaks of an inner soundness of mind and spirit that rises out of the ashes of memory loss.
A recent sermon in our church was built around the word, REMEMBER, especially in times of challenge or discouragement. God remembers us. “He knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:14) And we are called to remember him in our old age, “before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken.” (Eccles 12:6)
Our brains are subject to decay, but one day—in caelus—we will REMEMBER, in sharp focus, the everyday love and mercy of our Lord.
How’s your memory, these days? I’m ready for my heavenly recharge.
Tell me your story—below or email@example.com
Thank you, Ellie, for this. Beautifully written. And, of course, I was there — at your lovely wedding — all those many years ago. Congratulations and best wishes to you both. With deep love and admiration, Lowell
Thanks much, Lowell. We have shared many fine hours together, dating back to those Wheaton days!
Lowell, it was you–at Wheaton–that brought us together, and we’ve been friends ever since! : )
Beautiful — on so many levels. Thank you.
Interesting, dear Ellie. Earlier this morning, a friend introduced me to Alan Jackson’ s “Remember When” through his devotional, The Deep. I just got off the phone with my daughter where a large part of the conversations focused on portions of our life together. And now your blog. You and Jim figure prominently in our Remember When’s.
BTW: I’m working on a booklet, “You know you’re getting older when…”. Example: It takes 2 to have 1 memory.
I want to read that book, John! : )
Thank you Ellie. This speaks to me. My Dad had dementia and we watched him decline for ten years. Near the end he didn’t recognize his children but he he revealed many things hidden in his brain. We saw a part of him that we had never seen or known. He trusted and held my mother close. His lifetime of faith in God served him well and was never lost. Prayers for you and Jim. As always you face life with faith, love, humor and optimism and are an example for us all.
That’s a powerful word, Monica! Knowing what glory is ahead, we can put up with a lot in whatever time we’re given.
“Therefore shall a man … cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (KJV) This verse takes on an even richer meaning the longer we are together. That Jim remembers the best moments of his life is a testimony to your life and love.
Thank you for sharing this. Our memory may fade, but God’s memory never fades. He loves us forever. Have a blessed day!
YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! Thank you, Melissa!
Thank you Ellie. You’ve always been a source of spiritual inspiration… from my long ago days in PF (Pilgrim’s Fellowship junior high youth group at West Congregational Church)… to today, as I prepare for tomorrow’s preaching at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (New City, NY), approaching my 29th year of ordination as a pastor in the ELCA. You see, I too REMEMBER… and am grateful for the solid spiritual grounding you and Jim helped forge in my life so long ago… and I give thanks. With love and gratitude, Rev. Rhonda J. Hoehn
That is a beautiful love story that continues. We love and appreciate you both very much !
Speaking of Alan Jackson there is another beautiful song that he sings that you can listen to on youtube. It is I want to stroll over Heaven with you. It was his mother’s favorite song and just beautiful !
Whew, Ellie, another so beautiful word picture to illustrate your message.
Not only for you to be there to help Jim, but I think another reason God keeps your feet on terra firma is your far-reaching ministry of wisdom and encouragement to so many. I envy the others who have written who were privileged to know you and Jim in a longer and closer relationship than I’ve had. But I’m thankful for the blessing you are in my life.
Love and thanks.
Thank you, Ellie, for this reminder. After my mother passed, I reflected often in gratitude that God has given us memories. Snippets are sometimes hidden for years, then bursting forth in the presence of a fragrance, scene, a word, a poignant or humorous moment. Most importantly, that seared memory of the moment I surrendered my life to Jesus. Memories are a gift indeed.
Thank you so much Ellie. It’s true that our past is full of history and fun. Deep in our memory lanes are confessions that at one point in time we made and we fully remember. As we grow old our memories fades slowly. But our God is infinite and good. He knows and remember every detail of our lives. I remembered my little past. I remember the day I gave my life to Jesus and the day I proposed to my dear wife and she accepted me. I remember everything. As our memories fade we ought to remember that our Creator awaits us. He will translate us to heaven. Our citizenship is in heaven. From there we await our Lord who will come and change our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body (Phil 3:20) Thank you so much Ellie, you inspired me a great deal.
AMEN, Hillary. As our memory fades here, the reality of heaven becomes even stronger. We will not just remember; we will KNOW our Lord and Savior!
Just beautiful! God made something beautiful of your lives together. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Love your blog,Ellie. As my Dad approached 100, more and more memories were gone, but not the hymns. All we had to do was start a verse and he would join in, with relish.Nothing could stop those memories. Judy Durant
Hey Ellie, I really enjoyed your blog. I loved the story and the pictures. It is an encouraging and relatable story of what a marriage grounded in God’s love can produce. Congratulations on your anniversary. Powell and I will celebrate our 38th anniversary next week! Think of you often. My prayers are with you! Love, Kathy
Ellie, this one was so strong. Constant impact while reading. Brings out the tears. With Mom, you could repeat every story, every information on a 10 minute cycle. But from her home in CT, if John called from Toronto, she knew who it was, or David from Los Angeles, or Robert from Costal Rica, she knew our voices. As others have said, the memories are from youth. She knew her friends as a teenager. You start any poem or any Bible verse learned as a child, and she would finish it. Glad for the number of times “remember” comes in Scripture. It is a major theme word in my book on play, because to remember is to celebrate. God, by the prophets and others, makes a major theme out of not forgetting, not forgetting the Covenant or His love or His mercy. Remember my works of salvation for you. Remember me as Creator and Redeemer. To do that, you must stop “daily life” and celebrate – celebration is remembering. Ellie and Jim, we love you. Abrazos.
Ellie, I don’t know if that was you on The Chosen video community, but I suspect so. You mentioned your writing so I thought I would look you up. What a life you and your husband shared, so rich with wonderful experiences. To remember is to cherish. Even as the memory fades, the heart still overflows.
Thanks so much, Tess. ANYONE who is tight to The Chosen instantly becomes a tight friend. Blessings on you, Tess!
You have written a wonderful tribute to Jim, and it turns out to be a tribute to you as well. We are thinking of and praying for you both every day.
Eleanor: I will always remember your faith in Christ and his promises for the hereafter. For other memories, I do remember the first time I met your Sister Marilyn, my future wife, at the front door , Lloyd Ave., Branchviille, I said youi’re it, she didn’t know it but she was. Our first date was at the Branchville Farm and Horse show, which should be high on your memory list of good times. All my love to you and Jim, Brother in Law BILL
Thanks SO MUCH, Bill! You have great memories, and yes, they are high on my list of good times. Years and years ago, but love stretches that far and further still, into heaven. We’ll all be together again!