Written by Jane Herron
During my years of teaching at Battle Ground Academy, English teachers were required to assign “memory work” each grading period. Usually the assignment correlated with the literature being studied at the time. Needless to say this was not always a popular assignment. The question was often asked, “Why do we have to do this?” Some of my colleagues were known for their sarcasm, and one was reported to have answered the question with something like this: “So that when you are in solitary confinement as a prisoner of war, you will have excerpts of literature in your mind to keep you sane.”
Obviously, that response is a tad far-fetched, but if the truth be known, we all have bits of poetry, song lyrics, and scripture hanging out in the recesses of our minds. This was brought home to me vividly after my father suffered a stroke. In those early days he could not carry on a lucid conversation, but he did quote scripture. I remember several days of being by his side in the hospital and hearing him say, “for I shall again praise him.” I knew it was from a Psalm, but it was not until later that I discovered which Psalm and got the full context. In his being, Dad was feeling the pain of the psalmist when he cried out, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?” But verbally he only gave the positive response: “Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”
In these days of isolation with limited human interaction, I have thought of my Dad’s positive response to his “virus” that put him in a kind of isolation.
I have recalled from memory, not only this Psalm, but other Psalms, scriptures, and hymn lyrics to bring me back to “positivity.”
9 I say to God, my rock,
“Why have you forsaken me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.