False Memories vs. True Thoughts

I am planning a trip to Eastern Europe in September and having made the trip before I’m aware of things that would make things more comfortable. While doing online Christmas shopping I saw an ad for an eternity scarf with a hidden pocket to safely keep passport, money, etc. “Now THAT would be helpful,” I thought. So much better than the little pocket purse around my neck and under my clothing. The order was placed and I didn’t think much more about it.

In the hubbub of Christmas, they arrived. One was black and one was grey. I opened then, looked at them, put them back in the bag. Where could I put them so I’d find them again after Christmas? Ah, with the suitcases! That way even if I forget, I’ll see them next time I pack something.

Well, you know what my past month has bee like; just like yours! Too many places to go, too many programs to watch, gifts to wrap, meals to cook, visits to make, people to help. Then after the first of the year there’s the putting away and cleaning. Finally, January 7, I began to think about those scarves and wanted to try one out.

I looked with the suitcases and inside every pocket of each one. Not there. We keep suitcases in the top of a walk in closet and I was positive the scarves were at least in that closet. I took everything out, re-organized and discarded things. The closet looks great! But no scarves.

I then moved on to my clothes closet; cleaned, discarded, reorganized. No scarves. I went through drawers. No scarves. I emptied the hall coat closet. No scarves. Now I am really beginning to get irritated. Where on earth could I have put those scarves?! I’ve gone down the list of places I normally stash things. Could I have somehow thrown them away when I was wrapping things? But that was the whole reason for stashing them in the first place. This went on for three days. The chest in the hallway was next though I really couldn’t imagine putting them there. Several times I prayed, “Lord, You know right where those scarves are. Could You please help my memory or lead me to see those scarves?”

That evening as I was leaving for a meeting, I saw a small package at the garage door where the mailman had left it. Hubby was pulling in as I was pulling out so I pointed at the package and he nodded. He would take care of it. He had ordered several things for the car so I assumed this was another.

Later that night, he brought the package in from the garage. It was addressed to me. Came from China. I opened it and what was there?? Two zippered scarves! Both were black. Y’all, I had just dreamed I received them and put then away! That dream was so vivid I was sure it really happened! Is that crazy or what?!! Or maybe I’m really losing it! But the evidence it was a dream is the change in color. There was no grey scarf which I specifically remember looking at.

After stewing over this for 24 hours, I googled it. It’s called “false memory” and 50% of us have them from time to time. I recall telling a story once and a friend who was also present corrected my memory. Once she reminded me, I did realize it happened just the way she said. I wasn’t intentionally lying, it was just how I remembered it. But when my friend told the sequence I remembered at once that she was right. This was different. Well, it’s still a false memory, but I can’t seem to mentally correct it. No way to know if it was really a dream, though that’s the only reasonable scenario I can come up with. It’s kind of scary that I could have such a vivid memory of something which evidently never happened.

It seems at times reality is tenuous at best. So what can we do? “Trust in the Lord. Don’t rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him and He’ll straighten out your paths (and memory). That’s Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Debi Thompson paraphrase.

And for the scariness, Isaiah 41:10-14 comforted me.

“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

He must have chuckled as I cleaned out my closets – a job that needed doing. He knew right where the scarves were all right. And He did  lead me to see those scarves! Just not where I was looking. And that may be another truth right there we’re prone to trip over.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9

So maybe, just maybe, everything we think is not necessarily so. Just a thought. . .