Have you ever stopped to think about what a blessing it is to have a brain?
No, really, I’m serious. Without them we’d be dead, for one thing.
I’ve been doing some physical therapy over the last month (my foot is much better!) and, as always, I’m a people watcher. In the facility I use, there is regular physical therapy, and across the lobby they do neurological physical therapy. That’s for people who’ve had traumatic brain injuries, or really severe strokes, or maybe a brain cancer that robbed them of knowing how to walk, sit, stand, or lie down.
Last week while I was stretching my toes (yes, that’s right. Harder than you’d think) I was watching a young therapist. Well, he looked young to me. Anyway, he was working with an elderly lady who was about as big around as a matchstick. She was wearing a wide brace or belt around her waist, and the therapist held her by the back of the belt, just with his thumb and first finger, supporting her if she needed it while they did some walking. He spoke softly, so I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but he seemed incredibly patient and kind. Then he took her through what I suppose you’d call an obstacle course, in which she started by sitting, then standing, then taking maybe three or four steps, then raising one leg, then the other, to climb over a low step. She kept going, dealing with each obstacle. At one point she just stopped. I don’t know if she was worn out, or couldn’t do the next challenge, but she wouldn’t move. Her therapist gave her a pat on the shoulder, encouraged her, turned her around to go back to the beginning.
I couldn’t hear a word he said to her, but it must have helped. She turned back and wanted to try again. And she succeeded.
About this time, my therapist tapped me on the shoulder. “You getting anything done, Linda? You’re pretty absorbed in what’s going on over there.”
we got to talking about the amazing human brain, that can relearn a lot more than we used to give it credit for. The injured part doesn’t regenerate, but the brain has something like a back-up system. When Plan A is no longer possible, sometimes Plan B works because the brain can be retrained. It takes time, and patience, but it can be done.
I love to learn. Even at my advanced old age, I take so much joy out of learning things like that, and my therapist was delighted to talk with me about it.
Your brain is in charge of everything in your body. sight, smell, hearing, sensation, muscle movement, pain–which tells you something is wrong–and pleasure. Digestion. Appetite. Typing. Even your dreams come from the brain. All those nooks and crannies are stuffed full of your lifetime, and that same brain keeps your heart pumping and your lungs and liver doing their jobs. It’s amazing. We are just scratching the surface of what there is to know about the brain.
So if, on Thanksgiving Day, someone asks you to share what you’re thankful for, tell him you’re thankful for your brain. It’s miraculous.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14)