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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I Have Lewy-Body Dementia--Spiritually, That Is!

In my post talking about how my mother-in-law, Audrey, had Lewy Body Dementia, which is the same condition Robin Williams had, I mentioned a few symptoms. During the five years that she showed those, we became acutely aware of how God was using those reactions to bring greater sanctification and spiritual growth into our lives. And what was the most surprising and alarming revelation during that time was that I am like her--spiritually. I have "spiritual dementia." In several posts, I'd like to talk about those and I wouldn't be surprised if you related. For to some degree, we all have "spiritual dementia."

Truth Isn't Relevant

The first aspect of both Lewy Body Dementia and my spiritual dementia (maybe yours too?) is that truth isn't relevant. 

Audrey, at 91 years of age, would wag her finger at me and exclaim, “Kathy, I can't believe you dropped me off yesterday several blocks away and I had to walk all that way in the hot sun. You are so mean.”

Of course, I hadn't done that but because of her dementia, she believed it was true. 

Audrey had delusions which were very real to her. That day that I made her walk in the sun, in her mind, actually happened. She either dreamed it or envisioned it but to her it was real. Nothing that Larry and I would say ever changed her mind. Even if we offered “proof” of what we were saying—the truth—it had no effect on her. She couldn't even entertain another perspective. Her mind was deceived by the dementia.

This was very frustrating to us and it took a long time to learn to let it go and not try to convince her of the truth. In the beginning we kept thinking that if we just told her the truth, it would make a difference. 

For instance, one of her delusions was that her second husband, Don, killed her first husband, so that he could marry her (Audrey) and steal her money. Of course, she had only been married once (to Don) and the money they acquired came from him working until he retired (and she never worked). Before we knew she had dementia, her husband, Don, died at the age of 90. But if we would have shown her her marriage certificate revealing the date they married—thus there was no time for her to have had a “first” husband—she wouldn't be able to accept it.

In the beginning we believed that truth would win out, even to a person with dementia. We tried to tell her the truth over and over again. But it never worked and she would become angry and even more determined to believe her delusion.

But when I face honestly my own "truths," I became convicted that in many ways I am just like her. I am faced with spiritual truth constantly, and some of it I reject. I read the Bible and mentally cast away anything that is not within my already determined theology. 

Most of the time, I don't even realize I'm doing this. I just neatly categorize something that isn't comfortable as “not necessary.” It's not that I'm saying it's wrong, it's just not relevant to me. I can discard it. 

Because of Audrey's “example,” I now evaluate more carefully: am I casting away truth? Thankfully, God, in His faithfulness and love, does draw me closer to Him and the truth. And the truth sets me free!

Next time we'll talk about "Protecting the Image."

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