The mind has only so many hands, so many places to hold, entrap, enclose. i was reminded today about a video game i played with my brother when we were children. i can recall the most intricate details about it. The melody it bleeped sprang instantly to mind, and i was humming it moments later. Were i to play the game now, i would be able to pick it up right where i left off: the movements of the characters, the layout and particulars of the game, all i can remember with ease. i have not seen this game, played it, or heard the music in about 20 years i would imagine, yet the memory of it is as fresh as if minted yesterday.
Fresher even, in fact, for there is much of yesterday that has already slipped into memory abyss. What was i wearing during the day? What tune did i whistle? Perhaps this is the case for most people, but it goes particularly so for me: i struggle greatly to remember even very important things that i have been told. Names, faces, occurrences of meeting and learning these, occupations, dates, calendar events, all escape me with equal deftness, assassins come and gone in the night and never truly even seen. Perhaps life is just “too much, too bright, too powerful” to hold very much of, as Thom Yorke might suggest. Perhaps these things flow in as water into a tub, fill us, nourish us, wash us, then are gone just as quickly never to be seen again.
But instead, might be the mind holds these things in a firesafe, some inaccessible tomb of recollection that on the last day will be revealed to us; an ancient sealed vault cracked open, its belly contents spilled, and suddenly the floor in front of us is littered with canisters of film, more film than we could watch in a lifetime. We tear into them one after the other, playing back delicate image after delicate image of everything we thought we had forgotten, tears and laughter and joyous exclamation ringing through the halls as images and smells and sounds of places and people long lost are imbibed again, and we soak them up and are full to the brim but just keep getting fuller, full to bursting almost, until at last we are restored to ourselves, and restored to one another.
And the hands of the mind are full, so full: balancing, juggling, holding, keeping. So much of the flesh of brain doesn’t even have time to stop and think. There are glands to be squeezed, vessels to be pumped, electricities to be produced and interpreted, systems to be monitored; such a vast stream of information and data and status that most of the brain is entirely consumed with maintenance all the time. What is left to thinking is not much, and it too is overwrought. So much to be made sense of, so much to learn and grasp and process, where do we begin? Just as one ball comes down, i must let another fly, or all will fall in collision and chaos. Most of the time, all of the balls are up in the air, and i am not in real contact with any of them for long.
This is particularly relevant when i attempt to contemplate the aspects of Our Father. i spend so much time trying to convince myself that He is all-loving and all-knowing that sometimes i forget that He is also almighty, all-powerful, unstoppable. My pitiful human brain cannot seem to reconcile the three: i cannot hold them all and shape them and name them all at once. Most of Him must at all times be up in the air, coming down upon me, and it is grace and mercy that allows me to touch them even for a few moments while they are with me.
i needed to be reminded of His might today. Psalm 114 did that for me. It produces a proper fear in me, a proper humility. It is easy to take advantage when we are loved. We are not so apt to do so when we are outmatched and overpowered. God who sings comets across the universal empty and crashes rivers into slowly shattering rock, God who rends suns with a word and blasts breaths of life into green corners of existence: it is this God who loves me with that same might, and no other.
My mind cannot hold this, it is true: nor my heart feel it, nor my eyes see it. I have filled the cabinets of memory and thought with trinkets of my choosing, fancies and whims and imaginations and hopes and left little room for Him, either His might or His love.
So maybe rather than wanting to have all of that given back to me in the end, rather than even more clog and more muck, maybe i should be hoping that He will clean house and fill me up utterly and entirely with Him.
Something tells me he is powerful enough, however, to somehow do both.
1 When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.