Brother Flavil is ninety-one now. The bad thing about that is that he cannot remember now what you told him only moments ago. He asks the same questions and repeats the same stories. The good thing about it is that, now that he’s not preaching anymore, he has more time to share with the Colleys. And we love him. We love to hear the same stories and answer the same questions and we especially love to see him do the same magic tricks over and over. Children love it, too. He can teach you things you can make out of a dollar bill and pretty neat gravity tricks and how you can magically pick the card (from a whole deck) that somebody else has picked out in his mind.
But that’s not the best part. While Brother Flavil cannot remember yesterday or five minutes ago—while he cannot remember how to get home from the church building, you can still ask him any Bible question and he can logically discuss it with you, using books, chapters and verses—lots of them. He can tell you his position on any doctrinal question and talk you through the scriptures, making you understand why he has come to that conclusion. He can follow your explanations of other positions and he can think through those positions. He can bat around biblical concepts and he can make applications of passages. He still knows lots more about the Bible than most people on most church pews.
Brother Nichols is kind and caring. He is optimistic and loves life. He is appreciative and complimentary. He is, in short, a joy. He is still one of the most faithful people I know and he has added to his faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godlinees, brotherly kindness and love (II Peter 1:5-7). And those things are not going away with his memory. The scripture says that when we have those things we are not barren nor unfruitful (vs8). So Brother Nichols is still fruitful.
I know there are some of you who can explain this phenomenon in psychological terms. There are some of you who have studied memory and know how this happens. But, regardless of what explanations are forthcoming, I will say this, for sure: Brother Nichols would not have this great proficiency in the most important body of Truth for lives today if he had not spent his lifetime studying the Book.
If I, one day, become mentally incapacitated, I hope I can still know the most important things. I hope I can still tell the gospel story. I hope I can talk about the Book of Books and share the Lord of Lords. I hope my countenance is kind and bright and totally affected by the fact that Christ has lived in me for many years. I need to get to studying!