– The following is from Chris Maxwell’s book, Changing My Mind.


Now? I know so much about knowing less.

I still study to obtain information and to grasp my recovery, my reality. Encephalitis. The cause of my effect of not knowing. It surprises you. Like a hidden secret, it is difficult to discover. Aphasia, another word I came to know well. “Because of injuries or disease, weakness mentally to grasp or gather.”

What a learning experience. New words. Illustrations. I play games to track numbers, rules, or order. The poster at my clinic gave this prophetic utterance: An impairment of the power to use or comprehend words, usually acquired as a result of a stroke, and sometimes from head injury or brain tumor. They needed my picture beside it.

V. S. Ramachandran’s words in Phantoms in the Brain mirrored my thoughts: “Parts… had forever vanished, lost in patches of permanently atrophied brain tissue.” (V.S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee, Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, William Morrow, 1998.)

Rebuke it? Or realize the new me needs to rejoice while accepting life and learning again to live?

My battle with viral encephalitis had affected my left temporal lobe. It caused deterioration of nerves within the brain. My new weak points included language, learning, and memory. A friend said, “He is more real, more sincere.” How can brain infection, abnormal electrical discharge of neurons, and flaws in perception and memory make a man more real?

Good question. Can pain bring long-term blessings? Can disabilities give us the honor of allowing God, really allowing God, to do in us and to us and through us what is impossible without His Strength?