The "Mind" of Our Spirit

By: Jill Briscoe

What happens when our mind goes as we get old? 

Although the mind is our physical part that computes information and relays it to our spirits, “knowing” God is not, in the end, a thing of the physical mind. 

Understanding this has been a comfort to me. For years, I’ve been concerned about getting old and losing my mind! I’m sure you know the little rhyme that says: 

My glasses come in handy.
My hearing aid is fine.
My false teeth are juts dandy, 
But I sure do miss my mind!

Seriously, though, I have known people of faith whose minds have disintegrated. If I know God in my knowings and the knowing part of me becomes confused, what will happen then? 

David McKenna, in his book Whispers of His Grace, gives a personal illustration that has wonderfully released and relieved me. He has helped me realize that even though we may lose our sensibilities, our spirit goes right on knowing even though perhaps we aren’t aware of it. What a comfort that is! For the knowings I’m talking about are deeper than our physical mind, which will disintegrate. 

My wife, Janet, and I have just returned from the funeral of her only brother who died unexpectedly at the age of 67. Their ninety-two-year-old mother was in the nursing home vegetating in a senile state when my wife told her about the death of her only son. Noting registered. So they debated whether to take her to the funeral or not. Would she get cold? Would it be any point? And they decided to. 

Entering a side door, along a ramp for the handicapped, we were surprised to be ushered directly into the funeral parlor in full view of the mourners. Instantly we saw in the faces of the family the value of her being there and we heard the audible gasp of surprise from our friends. For her, however, no sign of recognition let us know she was aware of her being at her son’s funeral, despite the flowers, open casket, organ music, and tears. Watching her closely, I detected a light of awareness in her eyes as the minister read the Scripture, gave the eulogy, and offered a homily. 

Then to close the service the pastor asked us to join in the recitation of the twenty-third Psalm, which was printed on the order of service. At the sound of the first words, “The Lord is my shepherd,” a strong and firm voice began to lead the congregation. It was Mama! Without missing a single word, she led us through the Psalm. Awe swept over us, as we realized that Mom’s lifetime of reading, memorizing, and quoting the Word of God, brought her back to reality and became her promise when her only son died. 

After the dismissal, we took Mom forward to the casket. Squinting to see his face, she asked, “Is this my boy?” Janet said, “Yes, it’s Eldon.” With full awareness now, Mom asked her next question, “Did he make it to heaven?” Again, Janet said, “Yes, he’s in heaven with Joyce and Daddy now.” With that word of assurance, Mom lapsed back into her fog of senility and rode home without another word. 

In her, we saw “trusting love” at work. God’s promise had been engraved on her heart and her soul, and even after she’d lost touch with reality and her mind was disintegrating, it came back to her in the evidence that God had answered her prayer and fulfilled His promise. Never again will I assume that spiritual communication stops when it appears as if the mind is gone. Despite the suffering of senility, a lifetime of love is holding Mom in communion with her Lord.

Isn’t that comforting to know? God engraves His promises on our hearts—forever. We can count on our relationships with Him enduring anything. And a lifetime of walking with Him will always keep us in communion with Him!

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.