PonderIt

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Need for Personal Narratives

Back in the good old days (5 months ago) when Times and Seasons was published under a Creative Commons license that allowed non-commercial redistribution, I took several of Wilfried Decoo's posts and put them into a booklet that I printed and shared with family members for Christmas.

Reactions are just starting to trickle in. (It took them a while to start reading as I suspected it would. That is why I wanted to give them a printed copy that could lay around until they got a chance to read it.) "Hey, I finally picked up that booklet you made. Wow!" "I read that Decoo essay about the two miners. Wow."

Personal narratives are so powerful, especially when told as artfully as Brother Decoo's accounts. I wrote earlier about the power of fictional works. Even more powerful are the narratives that recount real life experiences. Wilfried recently recounted an experience he had in the temple where a Nazi concentration camp survivor met the son of a Nazi guard. Just reading the account made me so grateful that everyone can be forgiven. I haven't done anything so heinous, but I need forgiveness as much as anyone.

A comment that AnneGB made on that thread also particularly touched me. I wanted to have a copy of her thought so I could easily refer back to it.
I empathize with the atheism of concentration camp survivors. I’ve read
over and over that they stopped believing in God. I also in my
Gethsemane. stopped. Not believing that He existed, but that He cared
if I existed.

The profoundness of the thought is in understanding that an actual person experienced it. I feel so much empathy when I think that people have actually felt that much despair. It makes me want to be more kind and gentle to everyone I meet and then help them in any way that I can. It pulls me out of my selfish shell. I'm grateful for that. I wish that that awareness didn't have to come at the price of so many other people's pain! But that is a pretty fundamental part of the plan of mortality.

5 Comments:

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  • Thanks Bradley:

    I have been thinking similar things lately.

    I tried to shoot you an email a few days ago. Do you still check the bar3byu address? If you have a moment could you contact me at enielson at yahoo dot com?

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 4/22/2006 11:52 AM  

  • Bradley,
    Thanks for this post. I sometimes debate on whether I should put items of personal inspiration on my blog. Your post reminds me it can be proper to do so.

    By Blogger Bookslinger, at 4/22/2006 2:49 PM  

  • Indeed, Bookslinger! I post to this blog primarily because it benefits me. It will be a valuable piece of my spiritual history. I feel grateful that others are interested to read our thoughts here as well. In the same vein, I am extremely grateful that others (like you) put up their own blogs that I can read and be inspired by. The sharing of our personal spiritual lives has been a great blessing to me and my family.

    By Blogger Bradley, at 4/22/2006 5:45 PM  

  • I didn't know you blogged about my comment over a year ago, Bradley. You know what's funny? I don't recognize what I've written and often don't even remember writing it LOL. That's old age for ya.

    I just barely googled myself and there's all kinds of stuff out there. What a concept, huh?

    By Blogger annegb, at 1/10/2008 6:53 PM  

  • Ah, the benefits of fame. :)

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 1/11/2008 8:53 AM  

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