It has long been said that our greatest desire, greater even than the desire for happiness is the hope that, in the end, our lives mean something. Isn’t that what we do, at least at some very personal level, as we live out each day? Czech President, writer and philosopher, Vaclav Havel among so many others throughout history, have reminded us that this search, this education of self, this need to tell our story, is an inward journey.
This desire for meaning can be the impulse of our storied life. We weave narratives into the circadian rhythm of our day as we exchange byte-size narratives of families, children, careers, vacations. Like ‘speed visiting’ these short interactions become the super glue that bonds our more significant connections between time or individuals, chapters and history.
I’ve seldom considered myself a diary or journal writer even though over the decades I’ve acquired many now fading notebooks with attempts to become one. Presently, I’m entering them into my own memoir so whoever wants to look into my disjointed life, doesn’t have to page through the ‘bla bla bla’ of my youthful meanderings.
This row-boat exercise, the ‘looking back to move forward’ is a frightening venture. I’m actually learning new things about myself, finding that at times I might not have made the best decisions, seen faces in photos or reread names, which honestly I don’t recall. The process has been cleansing, humorous, disheartening, and at some points, a settling exercise. But some resemblance of peace has found its way into a hole in my heart, so maybe the exercise of re-examining my life makes it all meaningful.
Reflecting on the past, whether it is my life or helping others travel back, can be psychologically purging, most therapeutic, and even productive for both teller and writer. The tears that flow and the moments of gratitude that genuinely emerge from each storyteller, knowing that their life did in fact mean something, is witness to the impact and healing power for those of us at Legacies.
If you truly want to capture your or someone else's story, take a moment to think about the reason why.
Whatever your reason, we are the product of all the stories we have heard and lived, and of many that we have yet to hear. Capture yours … before it’s too late.
Mary Patricia Voell
Mattisson Francis Voell