“We were together. I forget the rest.” – Walt Whitman
I adore this quote.
It is also not wholly true. What individual can ever “forget the rest?” The rest is life itself.
Writing to remember is life-giving, and it is tough. If we take the long view, life is a series of stories that shape us into the persons we continue to become. Pain and people and pleasures mold us as we go along. God creates each of us in His image, and then He allows situations to unfold that are beautiful and painful and often a little of both.
I like the illustration of drawing a circle around my own two feet, and then working faithfully on that person within the circle. Being responsible for my own faithfulness and obedience. But I think the illustration becomes less burdensome and more accurate when I see myself within that circle being held close and carried by God, despite my sin. I rest in this.
If I view it as such, then Whitman’s above quote is quite true. I am pretty confident he was not referring to God, but never mind, I can still see it that way.
Writing to remember is important. We all react to life situations in ways that reflect our God-given nature and personality, our family of origin, our sin nature, or a mix of the three. The longer I observe, the more I see this playing out all around me. If I can write and remember life situations, perhaps I will be less likely to repeat past mistakes. Even reading the biographies of others shines a spotlight upon my ragged soul.
One of our recent homeschooling read alouds, Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World, by Jennifer Armstrong, left such an impression on me, that I still find myself saying, “if Ernest Shackleton and his men can survive over a year in the Antarctic, the sinking of their ship, and camping on ice floes while remaining wet the entire time, I can do this!”
I can write for my children and future grandchildren. The difficulties and obstacles and small quiet happenings are the best sort to remember. They are what shape us; what encourage us to carry on with courage.