Birthdays sure have changed. As a little girl, I loved celebrating with my friends and taking treats to school to share with classmates (do kids still do that?). Then, for a very long season, I acted too cool to care and passed it off as just another year. These days, I’m not too proud to celebrate the fact I’ve made it another year and I’m happy to be embarking on the next one. As of today, I’m marking 67 years on this earth and looking forward to at least 20 more.
Five years ago, I wrote my Fourth Quarter Manifesto. The title of the post is Retirement Is Not An Option: Plan to Finish Well. My feelings and my intention have not changed.
“I intend to stay in the race. Just as a runner knows how many laps it takes to complete the race and keeps an eye on the white line in the track that says he is finished, I am numbering my days and narrowing my focus in these final laps toward the checkered flag…”
Looking back five years, I believe I’ve gained a bit of wisdom. I certainly have more life experience under my belt. In five years I’ve lost both my parents and my step-father-in-law. I’ve walked with a couple of our sons through physical trials. And we’ve celebrated both a wedding and the birth of our first grandson. Our business has grown. Our farm-grown sons have established lives in major cities. Old friends have moved on and new ones have become important in my life. The past five years have been challenging at times, but a blessing all the time.
I’ve journaled the events of those years, both publicly and privately. But lately, the need to document the times has become almost urgent. Generations to come will ask and it’s our legacy to tell them, with letters, journals, recordings, stories.
One of my favorite podcasters is writing coach Ann Kroeker. In this week’s episode, she encourages us to “…contribute to the world today. Use your gifts as a writer to contribute a verse to the world.” The verse? An answer to Walt Whitman’s poem “Oh Me! Oh Life!”
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
All of us can add to the proof that life exists — even in the midst of a pandemic. Many of us are self-quarantined with time on our hands. Many others are stretched to their limits caring for and serving those impacted by this worldwide event. We have a charge before us. It’s the same charge given by the Lord to the prophet Habakkuk as he pleaded for mercy:
“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3
Write it now! Record your revelation in plain language and know that in an “appointed time” it will not prove false.
My birthday request is that you begin documenting your life.
Even just a sentence a day for a year adds up to 365 thoughts about your one precious life. Write a testimony that may bring life to someone else next year, in 10 years, maybe 50 years from now.Tell your stories. Just a sentence a day adds up to 365 thoughts about your one precious life and creates a testimony that may bring life to someone else next year, in 10 years, maybe 50 years from now. Click To Tweet
And in the recording of your thoughts, of your stories, you may learn something about yourself.
“Our own life is the thing that most influences and shapes our outlook, our tendencies, our choices and our decisions. It is the force that orients us toward the future, and yet we don’t give it a second thought, much less a careful examination. It’s time to listen to our story.” ~ Dan Allender
There’s my request. Here’s my gift.
I’d like to send a new journal to one new subscriber along with a copy of my writing tool Tell Your Story. It’s a step-by-step guide for capturing and sharing life stories. I’ll also include a few little surprises in the package!
Many of you wound up here through links on social media. Here’s your chance to be entered in a drawing and to receive Slice of Life Notes, unique content from me once a month by e-mail. This month’s email includes things to do while “social distancing” during this challenging season. A little pop-up view of my cabin porch will give you a chance to subscribe. Or, you can drop your email address in the form at the bottom. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.
Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash