burning wood

The Weakness in Memoir

(A three minute read)

When I write memoir, I engage in a deep review of a dead man’s life, no more, no less. It’s a stroll through the crematorium.

Memoir is a sifting through the ashes of my burned body. It’s as though the molecules rise up and re-form. The fears, demons and oppression of my past re-materialize.

But they can only haunt me if I forget who I am and believe I haven’t changed. If I remember who I am, I can’t be threatened by a pile of ash. If it were to rise up at all it would simply blow away on the wind.

Historians take note: In the world of memoir the past is all, and at the same time, the past is of no effect. My past alone didn’t get me to where I am today. It was God breathing on that past. His redemption of my past makes me who I am today. I am who God says I am, not who I say I am, based on how I feel.

Who I am is much, much more than the sum of my parts.

Back to the ashes. If they rise of themselves they can become nothing. But, when God takes the dust of the ground, He breathes into me the breath of life, and so I live.

Again, the past is all, but the past alone, without that breath, is of no effect. With God’s born-again breath, I live anew, and am set on a narrow path for my own protection. When I veer from that path, it’s because I temporarily rejected my identity (or forgot it).

Momentary captivity to the enemy’s devilish siren song lures me back toward the rocks of self-destruction on which I dashed my fragile craft repeatedly for so many years. But then I get smart, and navigate back out into far deeper waters where I’m safe.

We were born somewhere, you and I, and grew up somewhere. Eventually, we leave home and go our own way, either on the broad highway to destruction, or on that narrow way that Jesus talks about.

Whether we hear His call to the narrow way or not, none of us can afford to stay where we grew up. We have to hit the road. The price we pay for staying at home sitting in the ash heap is much too steep.

Photo by Daria Shevstova on Pexels

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