When My Mind Fails Me

Jeff Huisman

Read: Psalm 71

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me. (v. 18)

“Who am I when my body fails me?” Karen Bables asked me to share my reflections on this difficult question. I had an easy answer at first: “I am myself in a failing body.” Then it hit me. One of my early narratives (and now, I know, a false narrative) was that my value as a person is all in my mind and intellect, that my body is just the means by which my mind is carried around. So if “I” am my mind, my failing body doesn’t really matter.

“Who am I when my mind fails me?” is a much more frightening question for me. It hits at my identity and sense of worth in a way that my failing body does not. Who will I be if I am diagnosed with early dementia? What if the part of my body that lets me down is a couple of pounds of gray matter?

Here is what I decided: “I am whoever God thinks I am.” And whether I experience physical disability or changes to my mind, he will always know who I am and who he intends me to be. Whatever happens to me, God will never forget me, never let me slip away from his mind. I am whoever God thinks that I am. And the day is coming when the full radiance of God’s answer to “Who are you, God? And who am I?” will be made perfect in my body, mind, heart, and life. —Jeff Huisman

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making and loving me.