A scintillating question. When I read this, I really had to think. I’m gearing up to attend the Calvin College Faith & Writing Festival in April, and I like to read some of the authors ahead of time. Thanks to my Kindle, I’ve downloaded a dozen samples, and I’m getting more revved up to go every day.
Take the question above. The author, Daniel Taylor, in Creating a Spiritual Legacy: How to Share Your Stories, Values, and Wisdom, beautifully argues for the importance for each of us to write our stories for those we leave behind. Having written a career memoir, I, too, am a firm believer that we should write our stories. What I especially like about Taylor’s work is that he differentiates memoir from spiritual legacy, saying that in memoir we tend to report our lives to any interested reader, while in spiritual legacy we are writing with particular people in mind and sharing, via story, our “values, beliefs, insights, passions, and actions.…” He says our passions are what energize those values, beliefs, and insights, and that passion “is a measure of caring, and it is no accident that the source of the word is suffering or pain.”
And thus, Taylor says, “I will know your passion when I see what you are willing to suffer for.”
As I read this in bed a few nights ago, I thought this is one book that I will buy, not just read the sample. I’m in the middle of writing letters to my toddler grandchildren about my experiences when they were born. Since I know I’m writing purposely to them, I can certainly use Taylor since I think it’s important to leave a spiritual legacy too.
Which gets me to what I’m willing to suffer for.
As I lay in bed, my first thought was that I’m not willing to suffer for anything or anybody. I have enough suffering, thank you, with having fibromyalgia and however it decides to manifest itself each day. Then I got a grip on myself and said, Lois, you don’t have it bad at all. Wake up. Look around the world. No, just look out the window, way down to the streets of Chicago, and see the panhandlers who don’t have a warm bed and don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
So, what am I willing to suffer for? Jogging the lakefront every morning? Cleaning my house more often? Volunteering away from home? Not so much.
I’m still thinking about it and will get back to you soon. Meanwhile, you think about it. What are you willing to suffer for?