Tag Archives: redemption

Forgetting Doesn’t Nullify

This piece is actually an entry in the Faithwriters Writing Challenge.  I highly recommend gathering with other writers to learn and grow.  The monthly group that meets in Chester is open to any who are interested.  Faithwriters is a lovely site and numerous on-line writing groups exist.  Together, we learn to share the insights and burdens God gives us with others.  The word is powerful.  Handle it with diligence, nurture and humility!

ENTRY 10/23/2019 – TOPIC: FORGET

The conversations are weird…often repetitive, piercingly painful. “I’m Kelly, your daughter. Remember, Mom?” But Mom forgets.
“Who is that?” she asks pointing to a photograph. “That’s your mom. You used to tell me about baking bread with her. Remember, Mom?” But Mom forgets.

Actually, there’s not much Mom remembers anymore. She has forgotten herself, her life and a treasury of cherished happenings. She can’t recall her wedding or her husband’s death. Somedays she remembers her children…somedays she forgets them. She forgets to change her clothes—and even that she has clothes. She forgets to eat, forgets where she left her teeth, and her Bible. She loses track of the location of her room. She forgets modesty, manners and restraint. Mom has dementia…mom forgets.
In her forgetting, I’ve learned the necessity of remembering Truth.

In some ways, we need to realize we all share ‘mom’s reality:’ We don’t remember what we forgot, and we don’t know what we don’t know. But our not knowing and not remembering doesn’t change reality. What was, is and always will be…just like Jesus. Lasting Truth becomes most precious when dementia enters your world.

When dementia strikes, it steals the knowledge of reality for its victim and plunges others into a parallel fake reality. One must learn to hold fast to what is real…to what remains. In dementia:

• Parents forget their children. The parent-child reality remains.
• Spouses forget their vows. The marriage reality remains.
• Treasured times are forgotten. The real-word happening remains.
• The soul forgets the values underlying its choices. The life lived remains.

Forgetting does not dictate reality, nor does it determine intrinsic value. Something much deeper than memories and happenings provide the substance of reality. Oswald Chambers says, ‘Redemption is the only reality.’ Dementia requires living on the solid foundation of redemption.

The truth of Jesus, His Crucifixion and Resurrection rests not on our remembering. Truth does not change when I forget. Just as mom is mom even if she forgets…her marriage, her joys and the values she built her life on also remain. Mom’s life is truth built from choices acted upon even though she now forgets the choices and the actions.

Reality is lived out truth…reality is what was, is and remains. Earthly reality is life LIVED. As the child of a dementia victim, you are evidence of that reality. You become the matrix for eternal life. At the end of Christ’s life, He spoke to His Father, saying, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Real life is ‘knowing God.’ To forget something does not negate it. Forgetting opens a gateway for another to remember the Truth that gives life and bring it into being through loving action.

Eternal truth overpowers dementia’s fake reality as you live out forgotten truths. Live out your earthly relationship (e.g. daughter, spouse) and allow God to work in that. When God revealed Himself to Moses, He used the phrase, “I am.” God is the God of NOW, the God of the present and He loves regardless of the fact that we forget Him, His love and His work on our behalf. Just as God calls us to remember His presence and His Truth as we walk through the valley of death, we emulate Him as we lovingly walk our loved ones through the valley of dementia.

Dementia is nothing but a lying thief posing as reality. It is the embodiment of the devil, who came to steal, kill and destroy. Dementia robs people of their awareness of their memories, identities and purpose…but it cannot change True Reality. The stolen memories—what another forgets–becomes your matrix for imparting real life.

Love remembers what the mind forgets. Love repeats those treasured memories. Love affirms the identity. Love confirms another’s purpose for being. Love restores relationships, recalls memories and rebuilds upon the foundation of values already in place. Love takes what was and brings it into the present as a foundation for the future.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8

Light Over-rides the Dark

Reality includes ugly, hard truths.  Mistakes, evil and hardship touch every aspect of every life.  But contrast creates beauty…and against the backdrop of darkness, glory shines!  I am always looking for stories that illustrate such Truths of God.   Recently, I saw such a story at a local state park.

Every story, whether that of a business, a country or a person, has a mix of good and bad in its history–and its present.  A walk around Chester State Park reveals some incredible good that came in the midst of both sin and stupidity.  I take great encouragement in stories like this because darkness can sometimes deceive us into thinking nothing good is happening.  As a Christian, the Park story reminds me that ‘stuff happens’ but my good and powerful God has a way of bringing good in the midst of bad.  Take a stroll with me through the history of Chester State Park and be encouraged!

According to history documents, in the 1920s, the land of Chester County was severely over-farmed.  Some say South Carolina had the dubious distinction of having the most15742990546_5cbd1c4f35_m depleted, eroded land east of the Mississippi.  Undoubtedly, a lack of knowledge and a surplus of greed joined forces to mine the land for every cotton dollar available.  The result paralleled the mid-west experience and the great Dust Bowl horror.  The present day park land was a prime example of the dark reality of those years.  An old cotton field with a history of crop failures, it was worth little.

Into the darkness came the flickering light of a dreamer.  Carlisle White looked at the
dried up property with two trickling streams converging into one and envisioned a lake-side housing development.  He set about sharing his vision, purchased the land and formed Lakeview Corporation.    The corporation built a dam, created a lake and sub-divided the property into building lots.  However, no homes were ever built there; no lots were ever sold.  The Great Depression crashed down and the developers’ dreams never materialized.  Instead, necessity forced them to turn the property over to the federal government.  The light of the dreamer wavered precariously.

But darkness can never overcome light.  A new federal government program, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was about to fuel the flame that would redeem that plot of land.  Part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the CCC put people to work re-building the infrastructure of America.  The State Park system across the US owes its beginnings to the CCC.  Chester State Park is one of the treasures that shines out of the dark years of the 20s and 30s because of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Darkness, though, does not surrender easily.  The first CCC crew sent to Chester actually abandoned the project because of the severity of the erosion.  Their inability to see beyond the difficulties joined forces with the darkness of another community to deliver the right team to Chester.  The work crew which did most of the work at the park was originally assigned to another county.  The ignorant racism of that community led them to reject the crew based on the African-American heritage of its members.  The fortitude of that CCC Crew, Unit 4475, conquered the darkness and became the primary tool of restoration for the land we now enjoy as Chester State Park.

Unit 4475 built an impressive array of structures–some of which remain today: the roads, a larger dam, shelters, a boat house and a residence for the rangers.  All of that construction was on top of the ‘camp’ the members built for themselves to live in while they created the Park!  Sadly, per federal law, every camp structure had to be removed when the CCC crew left.  Their camp included a chapel, store, barber shop, barracks, mess hall and administrative buildings.  This same crew also initiated several other projects to combat further erosion, including planting 400,000 trees and building additional dams.  Almost a century later, their labor continues to bless the County and countless visitors.

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Debbie Blakley, Photographer

Today, the Park is a picture of abundance and beauty.  It serves as a place of recreation and respite for many.  But its history includes a mixture of good and bad:  vision, discouragement, greed, racism, fortitude, foolishness and hope.  Goodness and light won out because that is how God designed this world.  The law of sowing and reaping means there are consequences from every action.  In the goodness of God, He deemed that curses are limited to four or five generations while blessings pass on for thousands.  May this picture of sowing, reaping and redeeming encourage you to rejoice in the goodness of God.

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’  Hosea 10:12