19
Oct
20

Beware the sinister sort!

I apologize if this question is too personal, but I am going to forge ahead and ask it anyway: how is your memory?

I ask because I find that mine is betraying me more these days than it ever has. Joan will mention a conversation we had just recently about some highly germane household subject, and I will reply, “Huh? Are you really sure we talked about that? I don’t remember that conversation at all!”

She will be then forced to prove to me that yes indeed, we really did talk about having chicken for dinner tonight after all. 

I don’t know… do you suppose there could be some kind of crazy correlation between birthdays and hard drive space?

NAAAAAH! Surely not. I can still remember my mother saying to my younger self, “Sometimes I get the feeling that everything I say to you goes in one ear and out the other!”

Of course, ask me to name Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks from the 90s and I won’t miss a beat as I reel off names like DeBerg, Grbac, Moon, Gannon, Bono, and of course, the inimitable Joe Montana. I can tell you the name of Sky King’s airplane (the Songbird), Pat Kelly’s jeep (Ol’ Nellybelle) and the clown on Howdy Doody (Clarabelle) without turning once to Google.

Yes, scientists will actually validate that as we grow older, our brains lose some of their elasticity and with it the ability to hold on to certain key pieces of information.

Or maybe we all become like that kid in the Doonesbury cartoon who raised his hand in the middle of class and said, “Teacher… may I please be excused? My brain is full.”

Maybe there is something else going on. Something deeper… more sinister… something with more relationship-damaging potential. 

Maybe we (I) forget things because we (I) have engaged in SORTING. That is, sorting information into the categories of IMPORTANT vs. UNIMPORTANT. Then, once appropriately sorted, we (I) hang on to the tidbits we (I) decide are worth hanging on to and chuck out everything else, just like old potato peelings. 

Sorting behavior is troubling because it reveals uncomfortable truths about what I put into the “important” or “unimportant” hoppers. It would tell me, for example, that my priority system considers TV and football trivia to be more valuable to retain than information about the smooth operation of my household. 

Or maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe someone more conversant with senior brain health can set me straight on the real cause of why I remember what I do and forget everything else.

In the light of that conversation, however, isn’t it simply AWESOME to take this moment and celebrate the fact that God doesn’t SORT? How amazing to recall that our Creator doesn’t use those IMPORTANT and UNIMPORTANT baskets to toss things – or people – into? I love being reminded of the sacred worth of “all creatures, great and small” under God’s economy?

 The psalmist tells us: “The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him…”
         (Psalm 103:15-17, NRSV)

Jesus echoes the same theme when he says to the people gathered around him, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs on your head are numbered.” (Matthew 10:29, NRSV).

Today, if you find yourself engaged in a never-ending search for significance, I have some really, really Good News for you: your search is OVER!

YOU MATTER! In fact, you matter more than you can possibly imagine. 

That is because you matter infinitely to the One who created you. 

And I really don’t think it is possible to be more important than that.

Abundant blessings;


4 Responses to “Beware the sinister sort!”


  1. October 19, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Watching the Chiefs as I read this. Great post. Go Chiefs!

  2. October 21, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    What a beautiful post and reminder Russell. Thank you for these inspiring words! 💚


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