Does Our Relationship With God Depend on Our Memory?

Does Our Relationship With God Depend on Our Memory?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are a great mystery to most of us. And how many of us who have Alzheimer’s in our family medical history, wonder if that is the path we will someday take? I have been fortunate to learn from some beautiful family members who have gone before me and I am convinced that even without our memory we do not have to fear being outside the reach and the love of God.

I will never forget visiting with my mother-in-law, Jamie, in her Boerne kitchen after learning that her diagnosed Alzheimer’s was getting worse. Following my question of how she was doing, I could see her anxiety and confusion and her struggle to explain that “A” word to me. My precious mother-in-law was not at peace.

However, just weeks later our family made the long journey back to Boerne from Louisville, KY and again it was just me and Jamie in the kitchen. This time she seemed very different, almost relaxed, and after I again asked how she was doing Jamie said, “I have decided that at least now God will be able to work through me in a way He never has before. My will won’t be in the way.” From that point on, whenever I was with Jamie I saw the evidence that she had let go of her will and trusted God.

Dementia is a general term for memory loss serious enough to interfere with daily life and Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Though it currently does not have a cure, it is at the forefront of biomedical research and the hope is that greater understanding will lead to new treatments or even a cure.

However, as followers of Christ a cure for Alzheimer’s is not the only source of our hope. While it is so human for us to want to assert our independence, to “do it ourselves”, and I would add, to “do it my way”, this drive for autonomy goes against the physical nature of our aging process. As our physical and/or mental abilities diminish we must depend more on others and we have the opportunity to trust more in God’s care and goodness while facing the unknown. In the words of William Sloane Coffin, “Faith is not belief without proof; it is trust without reservation.” It is my prayer that no matter the circumstances, you and I will be at that place of trust in God without reservation.