More on memory…

I wrote post a while back about my memory, wondering why I remember useless things and not important things.

It turns out Spurgeon had something to say about memory:

I believe that the fall crushed man entirely, albeit, when it rolled like an avalanche upon the mighty temple of human nature, some shafts were still left undestroyed, and amidst the ruins you find here and there, a flute, a pedestal, a cornice, a column, not quite broken, yet the entire structure fell, and its most glorious relics are fallen ones, levelled in the dust. The whole of man is defaced. Look at our memory; is it not true that the memory is fallen? I can recollect evil things far better than those which savor of piety. I hear a ribald song; that music of hell shall jar in my ear when gray hairs shall be upon my head. I hear a note of holy praise; alas! it is forgotten! For memory graspeth with an iron hand ill things, but the good she holdeth with feeble fingers. She suffereth the glorious timbers from the forest of Lebanon to swim down the stream of oblivion, but she stoppeth all the draff that floateth from the foul city of Sodom. She will retain evil, she will lose good. Memory is fallen.

From The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God.

It’s obviously not an excuse – but it does help explain things!


My memory

Sometimes my memory works like the proverbial steel trap. When it comes to utterly useless trivia, I’m your guy. I can remember the author who introduced me to certain words – and sometimes even the very book! (Examples: P.G. Wodehouse, who had an immense vocabulary, introduced me to fug, opprobrious, bootless, inimitable (in a title), and many others. Farley Mowat introduced me to tyro, among others.) What does it matter, really, where I learned those words? Or what a nictitating membrane is? Or that an eft is an juvenile newt?

On the other hand, I have a terrible time remembering names. Sometimes I even forget the names of people I’ve known for a long time, but haven’t seen in a while. (And no, this isn’t an artifact of my being in my 40’s — I have had this problem since I was in college, at least.) New names? I’m terrible with new names.

I also have a hard time remembering to adjust the seat and mirrors for my wife after I drive her car, while she always remembers to adjust the seat after she drives my truck. There are lots of other things I don’t remember for her, which I should.

And finally, I forget the lessons I’ve learned in life. Lessons which were painful and hard to learn. Lessons which taught me humility. Lessons which taught me about the incredible mercy and grace of God.  Yet God still remembers to be merciful and gracious to me.  (No small part of that grace involves my very longsuffering wife!)

Why is that? Why do I remember unimportant trivia, and forget important things?

Does anyone else have this problem?