Memoir: Write One Today
Today in the first reading, we heard the end of a memoir. The last words of David and his experience. You know the story of David. David had humble beginnings, interesting and exciting life and a glorious and powerful ending. If I write his story I will start something like this and then it will be male version of the Cinderella. One upon a time there was a shepherd boy. He one day killed a giant. He was the hero of the land all of a sudden. But then he had to run for his life because the king was jealous of him. He hid himself in the caves and then became a great warrior. He was the enemy of the king himself as it turned out, only to become the king of the land eventually and become the beloved of God and became the man whose name is talked about at every Christmas as the forefather of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Don’t you think this makes a prince charming story for little boys?
Now let us look at the other aspect of David’s life. David was timid and small, scared of the world. He was lustful and unfaithful. He was a drunk. And He was treacherous. Even more he was a murderer. Should I go on more? Now we have a balanced picture of this wonderful man called David.
David had everything going for him to write a best selling memoir. He had a choice to play around all his escapades and present them as the most beautiful. But we find David lamenting and crying over his sins, he sings praises of God for the blessings of life and then he becomes a human being who truthfully admits all of what happened in his life and carries on with the call God gave him. Failure does not stop him from becoming the success God wanted him to be. The story of David is a story in the Bible, it has become part of the Salvation History.
In every memoir we as the followers of Christ write, just like David, is the story of timidity and courage, failure and success, faithfulness and unfaithfulness. And like David, in every story we write we are given an opportunity to become the greatest of all or become the lost like the Saul and still be part of the Salvation History. No matter what we write if God is part of the process, we will be part of the conclusion.
If I had the time to sit with each and everyone of you and listen to the stories of your past, I will leave your doorsteps humbled and empowered by what I heard, but more whom I encountered. Each and every story I hear would be more powerful than the one’s I could have read or created as a fiction. Because what made them powerful is it was your experience and not someone’s idea.
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.” That is the building block of a powerful memoir and each of us have plenty of it.
This is what made David a powerful man. He knew his story well. He accepted his story as his own and worked with it. While it was the story of David, what he did in all of his writings is show how God was present in them. When David wrote the story of his life, he wrote the story of God in it.
So what am I saying here? Write a memoir of life and let it begin with God and end with God. Let the middle course of the plot be filled with God and let God be surrounded by failures, disappointments, illness, sadness, fear and realities of life. And let there be moments of success and greatness, but in all of it let it be the story in which God has some role to play. For what made the Gospel so powerful and beautiful is it is filled with what you and I go through everyday. The best memoir is that which is written truthfully. For one experience is never that of another and one memory that you carry within you nothing less than what God has given to you.
So today when we celebrate Christ the King Sunday that is what I ask of you, what is your story? And where is God in it? Is your story part of God’s story for the generations to come or are you so narrow minded that God is not part of your story? Are you as sinful and powerless as David was a shepherd and a scared man who ran for his life for a long time? If you are something like David in all of his failures, then you have a future that is as bright and beautiful as that of David but different in today’s context. So, write a memoir and make sure in it is the truth however painful it might be. Because your story is as sacred as that of David and Goliath, Ruth and Naomi, Abraham and Sarah. You are the forefathers of children of God, who will be born among people in the years to come.