Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dig out the gems, in pieces if you must

When you write a memoir, you record more than the details of what happened.

You peel back layers,
                        dig deep,

You mine gems buried under your life’s layers.

You get out a magnifying glass and hunt down the inner, more significant story.


Search for ways your experience changed you and made you who you are today. You might find answers to questions that eluded you in the past—or maybe you’ll make peace with questions that still have no answers.

Search for lessons you learned, for patterns (positive or negative) you recognize now, looking back.

Mining those gems can hurt. Have you ever watched Prospectors on The Weather Channel? 

The digging can scrape skin off your knuckles and break your nails and leave dirt between your fingers.

But the discovered treasurespriceless! Priceless in mining, priceless in memoir-writing.

Unearth things about yourself, and others,
that you hadn’t realized before.
Sometimes the discoveries sting,
but they can also shape and mature you
and send you down better paths
and strengthen your faith
for all that comes your way in the future.

Sometimes you unearth blessings you overlooked before,
the ways God was walking alongside you,
closing some doors and opening others—
even if you couldn’t detect it at the time.
Recognize the people He sent to cheer you on,
a job to pay the bills,
a doctor to diagnose your illness,
a Bible study, a church, a friend,
a scholarship, a car, a repairman, a song,
a professor who believed in you, a fireman.
A grandparent who prayed for you.

Look over the vignettes/chapters you’ve already written. Within each one, ponder, meditate, piece together:

  • What did you learn the hard way?
  • What do you know now that you didn’t then?
  • What new people did you meet—people who changed your life? Maybe for better, maybe for worse.
  • How was God involved? Include relevant Bible verses.
  • What wisdom did you gain from the experience?
  • What joy resulted from the experience?
  • What would you do differently if you could go back and do it again?
  • What (or who) would you have missed without that event?
  • How did the event make you a better person?

So excavate, burrow down, plow, rake, till, sift through the soil of your life.

Dig out those gems—
in pieces if you must—
but dig them out!

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