"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Forgotten Art Remembered

My husband took me to a new restaurant this week while we were on the Carolina coast. Persimmons overlooks the Trent River right at the point where the Neuse River dumps its waters into it. Persimmons prides itself on using local farmers and harvesters. It was somewhat upscale from our normal choice of establishments, but that doesn't mean I had any trouble finding something to eat. In fact, at the suggestion of my man, I ordered the Sauteed Carolina Black Grouper with Ginger and Green Onion Risotto, Sauteed Local Tatsoi and Soy Brown Butter Glaze. Oh, my goodness! I'm not sure when I'd had anything so delicious! To the horror of my husband, I snapped a shot before I completely consumed it. And, yes, my friends, that is seaweed on top!
For dessert, we shared the chef's creation of the evening: fried french toast with ice cream and maple syrup. I'm sorry to say I did not get a picture of that, because if I had put my spoon down to pick up my camera, I'm afraid it would have all been consumed by my partner in crime.

But food is really not the point of this particular blog entry. As we were sitting there waiting on our fare, I asked a simple question that any 5th grader would have known. In fact, it's too embarrassing to even publish. But when my husband was unsure of the answer himself, he suggested I look it up on my phone. Later, when our meal came out, we both were doubtful of what "tatsoi" was, and so, you guessed it, I pulled out my handy cell and Googled that.

No doubt the ability to access such information is a wonderful gift. If we want to know something, we can just Google it. If all we can remember is one line or even a few words of a favorite song, then we can just put those select words into a little rectangular box, and voila, we have the entire thing at our disposal. If we like a poem by a certain author or want to know who the Amalekites were, we type it in and have it in a heartbeat.

For thousands of years, committing things to memory was the foundation for religious, political and educational instruction. Memorization was known to have staying power. Stories and prayers known "by heart" were stored deep in the mind. And at any given time, they could pop up and amuse, comfort or educate. Somewhere along the line of printing presses and the World Wide Web, we have lost the discipline of memorization. Today, we simply pull out a phone or open up a laptop. And we're the less for it. Memorization provides us with a store of learning which can be accessed anywhere and anytime -- with or without cell phone or computer. It gives the mind somewhere to go when everything else is turned off. If there's nothing lodged there, then our soul is left at the mercy of the last mental image that took our fancy.

And so I've begun some intentional memorization. I've joined Beth Moore and about 9,000 other women across the globe as we memorize 2 Scriptures a month this year. I'm including verses that encourage, that exhort, that exalt. But I'm not limiting my discipline to just Bible passages. I've also pulled out an old hymn book and have found certain songs that I love and am committing them to memory. Great Is Thy Faithfulness was the first to be remembered. I'm also embarrassed to admit I no longer can say all the books of the Bible in order. I stumble when I get to the minor prophets; therefore, I'm committing the 66 books in the correct order.

Yes, I still might have to pull out my Ally to find out about tatsoi or to refresh my memory on all the oceans of the world. But hopefully, other more pertinent and important data will be stored not only in my mind but in my heart as I develop a habit of remembering that anchors my life in biblical truth.

I have hidden Your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you
(Psalm 119.11).

Just an ordinary moment...

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