This is an exercise for a memoir writing class I'm taking. I'm so pleased with the results that I thought I'd share it with the world! The exercise was: write about your treasures. Here's what I wrote:
My treasures are many and varied. Some of them are material things, like my books or my rock collection, but most of them are spiritual. My material treasures are probably easier to write about, because I have words to describe them—so that’s where I’ll start.
I mentioned my books; I am more than an avid reader; my soul depends on reading. I am capable of going a day or two without a book, but I start to wither and die inside if I go too long. Reading is my heroin, and books are my fix. I don’t get the same reading high from magazines or newspapers. There’s just something about holding a book, with its glossy soft cover, corners slightly battered like an old tomcat’s ears, and the smoothness of the pages between my fingers, that soothes my soul. I regularly get too little sleep because I read in bed and lose track of time while I’m in the world of words on the page. I can escape any troubles in my life through the magic of books.
Other worldly treasures are a cup of tea on a rainy day (or any day, but there’s something even more special about tea when it’s raining), flowers blooming in spring after the long silent dormancy of winter, a breathtaking sunset, the world under a fresh carpet of snow the morning after a snow storm, and the booming power of a summer thunderstorm. Part of what makes these treasures for me is their fleetingness. I can enjoy the moment of my cup of tea on a rainy day, or watching a thunderstorm, knowing it will end. I know that this pleasure is for a finite time, but that I will get to enjoy it again someday.
My spiritual treasures start with peace—peace of mind, of soul, of emotion, and of body. This is one of the gifts I received from the journey of my stroke; the ability to experience peace in turbulent circumstances. Over the years since my stroke, I’ve come to lean more and more on God and trusting that He knows what is right and good, and that somehow, some day, I’ll see how His plan has played out in my life. During those dark moments, I can take a step back and be eager to see how this will end up blessing me and the world. God has given me the confidence that, despite the fact that I feel awful and I don’t think that what’s happening is a blessing, in the light of eternity it is a blessing and I will understand how and why when God leads me there. Knowing that He can use even my stupidest mistakes and poorest decisions to make blessings is a comfort, and from that I derive peace.
Peace leads me to joy. Knowing that, with God’s peace, everything will work out to the good even if it’s not in my lifetime, frees me to feel all-encompassing joy even in dull moments. I can look at the sky and feel awe at its scope and know that all is well. The joy swells up inside me, starting at my stomach, and pushes all my negative feelings away. And with that radiating joy surrounding me, I can share some of my peace with others. It’s a “vicious” cycle—I feel peace, which leads me to joy, which brings me more peace…
These are my treasures.