Memoir: appreciating the gift of years

Writing a memoir looks quite daunting as more years unfurl and a life is viewed with the benefit of hindsight and perspective.

Tons of junk and gleanings of gold wait to be sifted through as our memory begins to recall past times with greater clarity than what happened yesterday.

What do you focus on: scenes, themes or dreams?

What should have the preeminence in the whole gamut of one’s experience?

Where do you start (or finish) the story of your life?

Can you appreciate it for the gift it truly is?

“It holds joy and pain, laughter and tears, success, defeat, triumph and disaster” –  Marion Stroud ‘The Gift of Years’

I’m not entirely sure how to answer those questions, but they (and others) have preoccupied my mind since I decided to get some of my life down on paper.

Inspiration and guidance have come from reading memoir and books about the art of writing it, including William Zinsser’s ‘Writing About Your Life’.

I had a stab at it with ‘Seeking Solace’, where I examined aspects of my life in the light of God’s grace discovered in the hard places.

It flooded out of me in an unwieldy spiel of poetry over a couple of years, and pulled me inside out emotionally. Afterwards, I was drained, depleted, the poetic well a mere trickle.

Then something rather surprising and wonderful happened – God began opening a door of discovery in my mind.

By God's grace, I saw into my past with eyes that could look beyond the painful circumstances Click To Tweet

I was able to remember the good times in my childhood without shame or regret, experience a freeing in my soul.

“The gift of years may hold bodily weakness and limitations but it can also contain increased spiritual strength and effectiveness” – Marion Stroud, ‘The Gift of Years’

Those reminiscences became tiny snapshots like this…

Fruit picking

blackcurrants-fruit picking-memoir WOJ

I bend to the task before me with inky-blue stained fingers cradling soft, squishy currants with increasing expertise.

My mahogany neck a fragile stem crisped by sun’s fierce heat, and hair bleaching blonder by the day.

Summer was lived outdoors. My sister and I could disappear for hours, venture further from home’s confines.

It was a needful breathing space in the school year, where being yourself was easier to bear…”

In order not to lose the thread of this memoir snippet, please come and follow me over to the ACW ‘More Than Writers’ blog where I am sharing my words today. Just click here to join me there. Thank you! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Memoir: appreciating the gift of years”

    1. Thank you, Bettie! Your sweet encouragement means a lot to me. We’re so thankful for your continued prayers as my husband and I adjust to him being at home again. Blessings and hugs! 🙂 x

  1. Joy, I loved reading this post. I would also like to put more of my memories on paper. I enjoyed reading about your summers written in such a beautiful way. Thank you for sharing your words and heart. Blessings to you! xo

    1. Oh go for it, Gayl. It will be therapeutic for you to write your memories down on paper, whether you keep them for your own reflection, decide to write snippets in a blog post or turn them into a book. Thank you for letting me know this was of interest to you. It helps to know how to shape our thoughts sometimes when we wonder how best to pen them. Blessings to you. Happy writing! xo

    1. Dear June, your prayers are being gloriously answered! My husband came home unexpectedly early from hosptal last Wednesday, although the plan had been for him to receive rehab and convalescence first. We are learning how best to manage an altered life together with input from family, friends and neighbours. It’s been a tough few days adjusting to his changed condition, but God is sustaining me to do more than usual and strengthening him as he slowly recovers. I haven’t been so active on social media for a while, nor been able to write as often I used to here, because my limited energy is being expended in a different direction. We’re so blessed and grateful for your prayers. Blessings and hugs! xo

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