Friday, May 8, 2009

Has The Moon Lost Her Memory?


In my other blog, I've written about my experiences yesterday, one of which centered on what I can only identify as memory trauma.

One of the things that happened yesterday was that, just before I preached it, I glanced at the manuscript of the sermon I was supposed to produce from memory, and realized that it was gone. I had practiced for ten days, and I had had it earlier in the day, and the morning before ~ but, not at the moment I needed it.

I suppose that by this time people think that I am merely offering excuses -- it's been eight months, after all, and now I refer to this particular incapacity casually, as if I expect it.

Here's what it's like:

I am taking a class on the Gospel of Matthew from one of the world's great Matthew scholars. I routinely fill 10-12 pages with notes each class. But as I am writing down some brilliant nugget of information or interpretation about a verse to which few people have given much thought, an image from last September pops into my head. I am still listening and still writing, but what I am seeing is quite distinct from what is taking place in the classroom.

Is it any wonder that my short-term memory is impaired?

If I sound casual and dismissive when I seem to be making excuses for myself, it's simply that the one thing I have become accustomed to is that, without warning, I forget. Pretty much everything except what I would prefer to forget.

And you know what? I'm OK with this.

I've had a lot of people in the past months make reference to the strength others have evidenced in desperate situations. I have no idea whether I have an ounce of strength in me. What I do know is that I have been the first hand witness (and victim?) of the outcome of the kind of strength I think they mean ~ the forge-ahead-and-and-refuse-to-acknowledge-this-shit kind of strength ~ and I don't buy it. The damage it inflicts, internally and externally, goes on for decades.

SO I am trying ~ not to whimper, but to be honest. And so I'm not trying to pretend that I can do things I can't. It's OK not to be able to do everything, or even much of anything. It's OK to have to look at manuscripts, or google, or notes. It's OK to let your bruised brain heal.

Amd ~ my long term memory is fine. Hence the arrival of the
lyrics from Cats just as I needed them this morning! (And here on youtube.)

(Barbara Henson image here.)

9 comments:

Carol said...

Your honesty is what will, in the end, get you through this. In 8 months, and in probably 8 years of actually "knowing" you, I've never heard you whine or make excuses.
Vent, process, and speak as honestly and painfully as you need to.

Michele said...

I dont think you know the strength you have until you are in the situation where it needs to come out. God knows I never thought I'd survive the road He's given me to walk, yet, with His help, we've made it through.

And it's not whining. You are saying what you need to say. And that's a good thing.

Sarah S-D said...

i'm glad you're o.k. with forgetting. i'm glad you're o.k. with saying there are things you can't do. i'm glad you're allowing yourself grace. YOU NEED IT! and it abounds. and i don't hear an excuse in this anywhere. i hear truth.

mompriest said...

I think it makes a lot of sense...and 8 months is not very long...

Also, I could not find that article from Barth, so I emailed the professor who taught the class....if he gets back to me with an answer I'll let you know...

Julia said...

8 months is a blink in grief-time. my mom had a panic attack yesterday because my dad isn't back yet and he's been gone 3 years. there is no timeline, there is no rhyme or reason to how it hits us.

Julia said...

and why is memorization so important? I don't think I've heard many memorized sermons. it's the message that's important.

Lisa :-] said...

What you describe sounds like post traumatic stress disorder.

And why shouldn't it be?

Virtual hug, my friend...

Anonymous said...

Another reason your conversations are saving my sanity. I'm so weary of trying to be strong; of saying "I'm doing fine",thank you.
You'd think 20 months would somehow resolve some of the pain.
When,dear God, will the wound heal.
I know time will do it's job - and I know I don't have to be strong but it's been bred into me and is so difficult to get past.
You and others are truly helping and again
I thank you, April

Gannet Girl said...

Yeah, Lisa, a lotta that going around.

April, I don't think I know your situation but I do know that 20 months is no time at all. I only referenced the eight months because I know other people have no idea what this is like 60/60/24/7.