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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)

TITLE: Brain Damaged and Forgiven
By janet rubin


I am convinced that pregnancy kills brain cells. I’ve always been a little ditzy, but after having three children, I’m more absent-minded than ever. Or perhaps I could attribute some of the brain damage to substances I abused in my younger days before God got a hold of me. On the other hand, my husband, Dave, insists that it’s a side-effect of styling my hair each morning in a toxic cloud of hairspray. Whatever the reason, there are things I just can’t remember. Things that drive Dave batty.

For one thing, I forget to close the garage door. As a fireman, Dave stays over at the firehouse every other night. On most mornings, when he returns home, he is happy to see me, but about once a month, he walks in out front door, drops his duffel bag, and gives me the look. In an instant I know that I’ve done it again. Then he tells me again the dangers of leaving the garage door open all night: skunks, coons, thieves… I know all of these things. It’s not like I want a pet skunk. I just forget.

Oh, and then there’s candles. Who doesn’t love a room permeated with the scent of an “apple crisp” Yankee candle? Who wouldn’t appreciate the romantic glow of flickering pillars and votives? I’ll tell you who—a fireman married to an airhead. Nothing strikes fear in my husband’s heart like me with a lighter. ‘Nuff said.

Speaking of fire, I am reminded of one of my more recent blunders. We were all at my in-law’s house for Thanksgiving, which just happens to fall on the same week as my father-in-law’s birthday. My mother-in-law, afflicted with a lung disease, is unfortunately chained to an oxygen tank. Right on the front door, there is a warning about oxygen and flames, which is why the whole family gasped in horror when I came marching at her with a birthday cake loaded with lit candles. They were quickly extinguished and no harm done, but the looks aimed my way clearly said, “What are you stupid?” Now some people might delight in the idea of an exploding mother-in-law, but I love mine. I just- well, you know—forgot.

Then there was the time I forgot to take a bottle of hot pink nail polish out of my jeans pocket and it came open in the wash, destroying Dave’s new work uniform. You can still open the dryer and see pink swirls.

And the time I put a roast in the oven to defrost, only to forget about it. Later I turned the oven on to preheat—I think the noxious fumes produced by melting plastic and Styrofoam packaging may have exterminated even more brain cells.

But my very worst air-headed habit is locking my keys in the van. I’ve been doing this one ever since I was old enough to drive. At least my children are now all old enough to know how to escape when I lock them in the van! This past summer I reached the pinnacle of stupidity. I locked the keys in the van in my driveway. Now, it wouldn’t have been so bad, since the house was unlocked and I should have been able to simply go inside and get the spares. Except for that the spares were also locked in the van…

Forgetfulness is a bad thing—annoying and sometimes dangerous—except for when the One doing the forgetting is God. Some of my favorite verses in the Bible have to do forgetting. In Jeremiah 31:34, God says, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sins, I will remember no more.” When we repent, He forgives and yes, forgets. How wonderful. His forgetfulness is intentional, an act of love.

But praise God! The Bible is full of things He promises not to forget! He promises not to forget His covenant, not to forget Israel, not to forget us. In Isaiah 49:15 He asks, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?” (He might have had me in mind there.) Then he answers, “Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” We esteem a mother’s love as the purest, strongest kind of love there is. But God’s love is better. What a comfort to know that when I can’t remember where I parked my car, God remembers me.

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This article has been read 1066 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dave Wagner03/13/06
Really fun and easy to read up until the ending 2 paragraphs, when I suppose you felt it must have a spiritual punchline. I'm torn, actually. While it's nice to have some scripture to end on, for some reason the shift in gears in this piece was kind of jarring.

For someone who claims to be an airhead, you certainly are well-spoken (on the page, anyway!). I really enjoyed reading this. Locking the keys and the spares in the van at the same time is quite impressive. And the exploding Mother-in-Law bit was terrific as well. I hear ya - often I forget things like that as well.

Thanks for posting this piece. Well done, even if it's not squarely on topic.
Lynda Schultz 03/15/06
Apart from a couple of little "goodies" like this one: "Except for that the spares" this was really good - and the conclusion was excellent. Good job.
Kate Wells03/16/06
Very cute... I personally liked the Scripture at the end tying it up with a spiritual analogy.
Jan Ackerson 03/16/06
I liked this a lot--your style is witty and self-deprecating, very fun to read. I'm not so sure about the title, though--"brain damaged" could be seen as less than sensitive to someone with an actual disabled relative. I like your last two paragraphs--they tie it together nicely.
Virginia Gorg03/16/06
I like this! Pregnancy kills brain cells - that must be really true. The way you tied scripture in to the story was well done and a good transition from airhead to normal (whatever normal is!). :)
Jessica Schmit03/16/06
I laughed out loud with this piece! Absolutely delightful.
Shari Armstrong 03/16/06
Cute -had me laughing along. I would have liked to have seen more about locking the keys in the van. I hardly ever did that, but while pregnant with our daughter, I locked my keys in the car -running, while I cleaned snow off. I had to call my hubby during one of the worst snow storms that season to come rescue me at work (I almost wrote about it lol). I think your theory about brain cells and pregnacy is right on target, too lol Nice lesson :)
Venice Kichura03/16/06
You have a great sense of humor! I loved it!
Teri Wilson03/16/06
I liked this piece a lot - including the ending, which wrapped things up nicely.
Helen Paynter03/16/06
Oh I liked this - and the exploding mother-in-law...ROFL
Cassie Memmer03/16/06
Very enjoyable read! Fun! Thanks!
Sue Dent03/17/06
Brain Damaged? I thought all that stuff just came with the territory! Sort of like giving your mother-in-law a delicious home-made Chocolate Cake for her birhday. . .when she's diabetic. I really liked the way you tied the scripture in at the last. Very entertaining and enlightening!
Suzanne R03/19/06
ROFL! Thanks for the laugh. You write well.

I see the connection with the theme, lock, but for the purposes of the challenge, the 'lock' bit could be stronger, in my opinion.

Overall, though, this was great, and I liked the 'take home message' at the end of the article.

Well done.