lost thoughts

Don’t you hate it when you have a good idea or profound thought as you are dropping off to sleep and can’t remember it the next day when you wake up? I have a pad of paper and a pen next to my bed for just such an eventuality. It also helps me to write things down that are buzzing around in my head preventing me from sleeping. I know that I will be able to address them tomorrow because they are written down and can then relax about them.

The system works well. Except when I have reached the point of no return when dropping off. Last night I know I had a brilliant* idea as I was dropping off and I know I thought about writing it down but sensed my body saying, “Don’t you dare, you’re about to be asleep!” and ignored the thought. It’s now floating around in my brain – unlabelled, unfiled and inaccessible.

What happens to those thoughts? Thankfully one or two of them manage to fight their way back into my consciousness and are logged and processed. In fact… [trumpet fanfare] last night’s thought has just done exactly that! Hooray! It was an illustration for a service I am taking in a couple of Sundays’ time in Horsham. I now have to evaluate it, having written it down on a pad so I don’t lose it again and you will have to come to that service to see whether or not it was as good as I thought it was.

But lots of them never surface again. They are lost forever. Do they have an expiry date and simply *poof*disappear from inside my brain after a designated period of time? Or do they remain inside my head, enjoying a nomadic existence that never settles anywhere? Or is there a part of my brain that is a home for orphaned thoughts? If it’s the latter, wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to access that part of the brain and discover them all?

I sense that some of you are having a very conscious thought right now… where on earth is he going with all of this?

I wasn’t sure when I started (if I am honest) but reflecting on the above has reminded me of these somewhat enigmatic words at the end of John’s gospel: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” (John 21:25)

What we have in the gospels are the things that Jesus said and did which the Holy Spirit considered important for us to know. They are the things he brought to the minds of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to tell us about Jesus. If there are so many other things, and these are the important ones, doesn’t that elevate their significance somewhat? I think I will treat them with even greater reverence as a result of that reflection.

On Sunday morning I am speaking about the Last Supper and I have just realised (d’oh!) that Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me…” not “Do this to remember the things I said and did.” Our focus should be first and foremost on him, as revealed to us in the Bible. So what is it about Jesus that the Spirit is bringing to your mind right now? It’s important, whatever it is!

An elderly husband and wife noticed that they were beginning to forget many little things around the house. They were afraid that this could be dangerous, as one of them may accidentally forget to turn off the stove and thus cause a fire. So, they decided to go see their doctor to get some help. Their physician told them that many people their age find it useful to write themselves little notes as reminders. The elderly couple thought this sounded wonderful, and left the doctor’s office very pleased with the advice.

When they got home, the wife said, “Honey, will you please go to the kitchen and get me a dish of ice cream? And why don’t you write that down so you won’t forget?”

“Nonsense,” said the husband, “I can remember a dish of ice cream!”

“Well,” said the wife, “I’d also like some strawberries on it. You better write that down, because I know you’ll forget.”

“Don’t be silly,” replied the husband. “A dish of ice cream and some strawberries. I can remember that!”

“OK, dear, but I’d like you to put some whipped cream on top. Now you’d really better write it down now. You’ll forget,” said the wife.

“Come now, my memory’s not all that bad,” said the husband. “No problem, a dish of ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream.”

With that, the husband shut the kitchen door behind him. The wife could hear him getting out pots and pans, and making some noise inconsistent with his preparing a dish of ice cream, strawberries, and whipped cream. He emerged from the kitchen about 15 minutes later.

Walking over to his wife, he presented her with a plate of bacon and eggs. The wife took one look at the plate, glanced up at her husband and said, “Hey, where’s the toast?”

*It seemed brilliant at the time, but that perception may not be entirely reliable given the dopey nature of my condition at the time.

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