It all started with a dream last weekend about my grandmother, Mimi.  Mimi lived with me my whole life until I went away to college.  Yet I cannot remember a single thing she said, except for an embarrassing pet name she bestowed on me, “Maria Baby Ball”.  Ball was a family name 3 generations removed and also my middle name.

When I awoke from my dream I stayed disturbed for almost a week. First I asked my husband what he made of my foggy remembrances.  In the process of sharing my angst, my husband and I started talking about school teachers and those we recalled.  As our memories were stirred, we could only access feelings, no words.  For Mike, the teachers he could name were all ones who had liked him.

When I met for coffee with Kris, my dear friend, she shared about how significant a role her grandmother had played in her childhood and spiritual formation.  She has vivid memories of her grandmother reading her Bible and sharing Jesus with her. Kris’ opposite experience with a live-in grandmother strengthened the remoteness I felt when thinking of my grandmother. The more I sifted through my childhood years, the more I realized that my grandmother was just background.  I next phoned my cousin Darby who is a few years older, to see if she could fill in some color to my two-dimensional recollections.  Our conversation was animated, but produced minimal fruit for either of us.

Remembering is an important theme in the Bible.  Hebrew history is littered with sad tales of generations who failed to remember and subsequently suffered serious trouble.  Many were the warnings, so calamity should have come as no surprise.  But human nature being what it is, we, too are startled when we forget significant past events of God’s lessons.  Being more modern and civilized has not helped us.  (Who seriously believes men are evolving into less evil beings?)

So what are we to do?  What should Mimi have done if she had wanted to bless me with any profound lessons or insights gained from her 95 years?   Verbal repetition is the key.  Repetition sears content into our brains.  I know this from negative experiences.  When I rehearse the hurts done to me by two or three people in my past at various times, I speak the details out loud to a friend or to my husband.  I formulate the thoughts, I say the words, I feel the pain, I hear the words and the intensity of my voice and that memory groove is deepened.

God knows us. (After all he made us).  He knows how our brains work, how we flit to the next event in our lives.  He repeatedly commands us to work at remembering. His word is filled with exhortations to remember and not forget:

Ps 106:13- But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.

Ps 78:42 – They did not remember his power- the day he redeemed them from the oppressor.

Deut 4:23a – Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you.

Josh 1:8- Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

And a more positive resolution –

Ps 119:16 -I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Ps 119:93 – I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

So why does this matter?  Well, for one thing.  I, too am Mimi – to little Chloe Isla Cochrane, aged 19 months.  And there is another Cochrane grandson on the way.  My friend Kris is a grandma to 3 grandchildren.  My cousin Darby is Mimi to 5 grandchildren.  A lot is at stake.  What and why do you need to remember?  What are you going to do about it?