The seatbelt locked as I was thrust forward in the seat. I looked up to see the flash of a dog clearing the passenger front corner of the van bounding off to the ditch. Richard let up on the break and accelerated back to 65 mph to take us on home last Sunday – his second experience driving.
Yesterday, Richard drove into Rolla, his first foray into “city” driving. We needed to go to K-Mart to refill a prescription and to the bank across the highway. Since we could take back roads this third driving trip was bound to be a no-brainer. He did perfectly until we were in the store.
As we entered we met Richard’s Aunt Darlene. In the course of conversation he mentioned that the drive to the store was his second driving experience.
I corrected him bragging, “No, this is your third.”
“Oh, yeah,” he replied with a sheepish look on his face.
I knew he did not remember. When the conversation closed we strolled on to the pharmacy. As we browsed in the store I mentioned to Richard his first drive home from church. Yes, he remembered the sweet success of the first time. I asked if he recalled this last week and he went blank. That was when I recounted to him the close call with the dog. He paused for a bit and then the light bulb went on. (How very appropriate in a K-Mart that uses a blue light bulb as the store symbol) He did remember.
Now on Thursday morning I asked him about his recent driving history, and he was quick to account for all three times stating the dog incident as a marker. I count that as progress in short-term memory.
Memory loss, brain damage and performance restoration all nudged my mind. I puzzled if scripture holds an example to testify to these. Nebuchadnezzer, the first Babylonian king under whom the prophet Daniel served, came to mind. I have always puzzled at the account in Daniel 4:28-37. In Sunday school material and in children’s books, I remember reading the tale of the king’s humiliation and subsequent restoration. The presentations made it seem trite or even whimsical for me. Now I see beyond the juvenile material.
Richard had genuinely been at risk of a stroke also known as a cerebrovascular accident. The doctor said the brain tissue around the vascular anomaly they removed was stained as if a small bleed had occurred. Is that not what may have occurred for Nebuchadnezzar? Thinking that, I have a new appreciation for Nebuchadnezzar’s condition.
Had Richard been a king when he had his rough day (reported on March 11) the court attendants probably would have left him to himself. After all, we read in the story of Esther just how risky it was to approach the king and how binding his word was. Had he possessed the power to have me beheaded for speaking to him, Richard could have wandered out to the Missouri landscape in his distemper.
In due time, King Nebuchadnezzar was restored to his full mental capacity by the grace of God. In the process, Nebuchadnezzar received an incredible theological education in his adversity. Recovering from his impaired mental condition the king made a unique declaration about God’s majesty and sovereignty.
Now what does this have to do with our situation? We wait resting assured that God in His grace has all in control.