Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fighting Alzheimer's

This work-from-home mommy has spent twelve hours this week away from home in training for her job--no kids, no diapers, no crying episodes.

It's been a taste of my BC life--you know, "Before Children."

The one hour commute each way. The praise music blaring as I sing with abandon because no one can hear (or criticize). The desk lacking in random toys and shoes. The quiet office where I'm not constantly having to hit the mute button and threaten a child with an afternoon in his room if he doesn't use his inside voice or apologize to his little sister right now!!

A working woman's paradise.

This fall, my online classes will move to a new platform, which requires me to learn this new system. Honestly, just the thought could make me hyperventilate if I don't quickly ground myself with the thought that I'm not required to figure everything out this week or even this month.

Each day of the training, I've walked back to my van with this pounding headache and pushed foot to floor, wishing I could just click my heels together and be back at the sanctuary of home.

But it's a good headache, obviously the result of new synapses forming in my brain. I can actually visualize little comets zooming from one point in my brain to another to make connections from the routine, the old to the new, the unfamiliar.

Back and forth they weave a sparkly-trailed web, meeting at crossroads of light before leaping off into space again. Sometimes they explode upon impact, leaving nothing but scattered ideas behind. Others, they burrow deep, like when a rock climber's rope anchors securely in a deep crevice, and I make the connection.

I've never been one to embrace change with much grace, especially change that requires this much effort to figure out how to squeeze a circular column into a square hole.

But then I remembered reading that people who are constantly learning to do something new are less likely to develop Alzheimer's. So, as I rub my aching head, I laugh and tell myself that God has given me this new learning challenge to save my brain from the deadening repetition of reading Good Night Moon for the billionth time.

As I drove home today, I had one of those random thoughts where I wondered whether intense Bible study would help keep my brain sharp, too. It makes me scratch my head in deep thought; it sends me scampering to my resources and Greek/Hebrew dictionaries. And yet my head never aches when I do Bible study.

I mulled that over through several red light cycles, then realized why intently studying God's word doesn't send me scampering for the Ibuprofen bottle.

I don't have to figure it out. No pressure. No timed launch date to meet.

I encounter Scripture with the attitude that God will give me insight through His Spirit when I earnestly seek Him. And what's more, I readily accept that a good many things about God are beyond my comprehension now (and some until eternity begins).

As a result, I'm fascinated and elated each time another spark of light reveals another tiny glimpse of my God. I accept the mysteriousness and incomprehensible nature that is God and feel the freedom to wonder, to question, to simply "not know" and be ok with that not knowing even though I really, really, really wish I knew the answer.

So maybe Bible study isn't rigorous enough to keep the plaques from building up on my brain. But one thing I'm sure of--it instills in me a passion for following Jesus that's enough to keep hardness from surrounding my heart.

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