Beliefnet
What is all our histories, but God showing himself, shaking and trampling on everything that he has not planted.
-Oliver Cromwell

From "Writing the Sacred Journey," by Elizabeth J. Andrew:

It comforts me that I'm not alone. All sorts of people-elderly church-goers, prisoners, parents, teenage moms, recovering addicts, business executives, homeless people-are eager to put words to their spiritual journeys. Just last week during announcements at a Quaker meeting, a woman in her fifties practically leapt into the air: "I'm finally writing my memoir," she said. "It's amazing! I want to find other people to write with me and talk about it."

I recognized in her excitement the impulse that drives us language-lovers to work with our life stories. People seek continuity between the inner world and the outer, between their past selves and who they are now, and especially between what they claim to believe and how they live. Writing helps bring about this continuity. And writing becomes a means to engage that creative force within and beyond us, the sacred presence that lends us life.

The reasons we give for writing spiritual memoirs are often more practical than this abstract, heartfelt longing. We say we want to pass our stories along to our children, or that we need to share our soul's journey with loved ones, or that we want to leave behind more than a financial legacy. Jewish communities in particular are paying increasing attention to the tradition of writing "ethical wills"-documents that place individual lives in a broader context, linking past and future generations by tracing an ethical heritage. Writing our struggles, our beliefs, and our insights gives us tangible evidence of our internal life to hand to our families.

Another reason people give for writing spiritual memoirs is that our experiences have been so transformative, our insights so hard-earned, that we feel compelled to share them.

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