Words of Hope: Memory Palace

Dad and I loved to memorize. One of the best gifts he gave me was my passion for memorizing scripture and poetry. We started in 2005, and now, I have many working verses that take me quite a while to practice. I created a memory palace in my house to remind me of the verses—Psalm 23 is the dining table, Psalm 20 is the stovetop, Romans 12 is the long couch, and Psalm 63 is the sink. I can walk through the house in my mind’s eye and then remember the verses I have memorized. Sometimes I go to the spot and quote the verses aloud. My family doesn’t love this when I cook because I tend to become distracted and sometimes burn the food. Mom says that is being so heavenly-minded you are no earthly good. This practice of memorization has healed me more than any other daily discipline. My mind is very busy. Scripture keeps my thinking where I want it to be, on where I want it focused. 

Dad’s death has rattled my memory some. I often forget where I have put my keys, credit cards, and wallet. I find I taper off mid-verse and end up minutes later on some random concern or fear that is truly irrational. I can see the changes, and it begins with the decision to move toward prayer and scripture first or the temptation to doom scroll or veg out on little clips about kittens, food hacks, or silly reels. Instead, when I go to my memory palace and discipline my mind to choose scripture first, everything else comes into place.

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. – Joshua 1:8