“How can I remember the name of my best friend in fourth grade––Andrea––but forget the name of my next door neighbor or a person I met only moments ago?” a woman asked as we chatted about the challenges of getting old. “I know what to do in these situations but I don’t always do it––and that is turn to God. He never fails me.”
Instead of going right to the source, she tried the tricks people recommend. Pay close attention to a name when you meet someone. Find something about the person to associate the name with, like hair color or gesture: Rosemary, the redhead, or Minnie from Minnesota. Repeat the name silently in your mind three times. Dave, Dave, Dave. “Didn’t work for me because the man reminded me of my cousin, Dan. I kept saying Dan, Dan, Dan until I slipped and said it out loud.” We both laughed.
Then there’s the old use-the-name-in-a-sentence trick as soon as you hear the person’s name. That didn’t help either. “It’s nice to meet you, Redhead, I mean Rosemary. People look at me as though I’m one taco short of a Mexican Special.”
Fortunately, none of us is alone in this. Two friends who had known each other for decades were Bridge partners when one looked at the other and realized she couldn’t pull her partner’s name.
Her face flushed and she fidgeted with her cards, hoping the name would come back. After a moment she gave in to her forgetfulness. “I’m so sorry,” she said feeling stupid, “but I can’t remember your name. Isn’t that awful?”
Her partner looked across the table with a mix of hurt and anger in her eyes. Just as the first woman was about to apologize again, the other looked up and said with a twinkle in her eye, “How soon do you need to know?”
Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.