|[Image by Malik]|
I was eleven when I accompanied my mother as she entered a dim-lit market stall located off a major street in Lagos, Nigeria. Somewhere between the bargaining of the prices of onions, peppers, and tomatoes, and the little treasures finding their way into our shopping basket, I would notice a green animal locked up in a cage, sitting on the floor of the market stall. When the owner apprehended the object of my attention, he proceeded to explain to us that the animal was for sale, and that it was called a chameleon, and that it had the ability to change its color if placed in a new environment (with a different color). That was my first encounter of an animal that had the power to change its own skin color.
A moving personal story is the environment which forces human beings to change their own colors. It pushes us to choke back our tears, because even if we cry, we cannot change the bitter truth of that story. A true miracle is more impacting than ten thousand fictional miracles. One real voice crying out for survival is truer than ten thousand fictional prisoners of war.
However, just like many readers and writers, fiction has always been (and will always be) a place of escape for me-- the fantasy that connects my real world to a distant kingdom. It helps me to relate to people's experiences, and when I write fiction, I only do so to reflect what goes on in real life. After all, J. K. Rowling said during her 2008 Harvard Commencement speech, "Imagination is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we've never shared." Yet, I've realized that only a true story can jolt us into receiving our own salvation.
How else can we explain why one of the strongest books of the bible is the Psalms, where David writes his own memoir-- how there were people who hated his guts, how he ran away from his enemies, how he pleaded with God to kill all of those who sought to kill him, how he sinned and asked for forgiveness, and how God walked with him even in the valley of the shadow of death?
Our reality exceeds our ideologies. We can write about castles all day long, but unless we dare to write of our experiences of living in a real castle, we do not get to be the real superheroes. This, my friends, is the power of writing a memoir, or even writing a personal blog post. Let your true stories change the lives of those who know you, just like the true story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ saves thousands of lives around the world each day.
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have ordained strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger (Psalm 8:2); There are many who say, "Who will show us any good?" Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. (Psalm 4:6)
Question(s) of the Day: How much do people's personal stories of salvation and success impact your life? Do they provoke you more than fiction?
PS: I got inspired to write about the heroism of our personal stories, after spending my entire Saturday afternoon reading Alligator Leg's blog from start to finish. She's in the process of writing/publishing her own memoir. I listened to a powerful personal story on Sunday, and I plan to post a link to the video on Wednesday (Part 2). Cheers readers, see you on Wednesday :)