December 31st, 2016| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Susie and Eric’s home in a suburb of Olympia, Washington, is filled with trinkets and tokens from their extensive cruising experiences: Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Bahamas, Bermuda, Mazatlán, ….

But there is one problem. Susie, in her 50s, has no memory of those cruises, or of any vacation she has ever taken. Indeed, she cannot recall a single moment in her marriage to Eric or before it. And, no, it is isn’t dementia or neurological disease of any known sort.

Susie knows she’s taken those cruises—she just can’t remember those experiences: what happened, what she did, etc. Susie has “severely deficient autobiographical memory.” She knows all the facts, but she simply can’t mentally relive/see/experience those events. She has no episodic memory, those “video camera” happenings filmed from our perspective that we run through, as we reminisce about events in our lives.

Confesses Susie:

I know bits and pieces of stuff that happened in my childhood. But none of it is vivid or seen from my own perspective. I don’t remember being shorter or smaller or having to reach up for things. I have no images or impressions of myself as a kid.”

No core memories of events! Not that that has hampered the “normality” of her life: she’s a reitrment specialist for the state of Washington; she is intuitive, curious, funny, she has hobbies, opinions, friends. She sings in a choral ensemble and yes, she can remember lyrics, melodies, harmonies—semantic memory. Though she knows quite well who she is, she doesn’t remember any of the anecdotes that shaped this person—episodic memory.

One wonders why, if Susie (and others, presumably) can get by so well without episodic memory, most humans have them, in the first place.

Perhaps it is so that we would remember God and what he has done for us. Perhaps it is so that we would lead reflective lives. Reflection and remembrance was intended to be part of our lifestyle.

Remember the days of old,
consider the years of all generations.
Ask your father,
and he will inform you,
your elders, and they will tell you.
Deuteronomy 32:7

We reflect on the deliverance of God.

You shall remember that
you were a slave in the land of Egypt,
and the LORD your God
brought you out of there
by a mighty hand and
by an outstretched arm.
Deuteronomy 5:15

We reflect on the power of God, so as to be able to face the dread of the future.

… you shall not be afraid of them;
you shall well remember
what the LORD your God did
to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.
Deuteronomy 7:18

We remember, that we may remain faithful.

Beware that you do not forget
the LORD your God by
not keeping His commandments …
Deuteronomy 8:11

We remember the provision of God, even in times of plenty, that we may be ready, when the dark days come.

But you shall
remember the LORD your God,
for it is He who is giving you
power to make wealth ….
Deuteronomy 8:18

We reflect on the mercy of God, that we may be merciful to others.

You shall remember
that you were a slave
in the land of Egypt,
and the LORD your God redeemed you;
therefore I command you this today.
Deuteronomy 15:15

And, thankfully, ours is a God who never forgets.

For the LORD your God is
a compassionate God;
He will not fail you nor destroy you
nor forget the covenant with your fathers
which He swore to them.
Deuteronomy 4:31

What a relief—He doesn’t forget. He always remembers. So must we. Live reflectively.

Have a blessed 2017!

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