Can you do it?
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
It’s not easy. It might be easier to try and summarize your son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father in just six words. It would be a rather interesting exercise to ask people to do around the dinner table one night. (If you do, please let me know how it went.) Here are my six words about my Dad: “Loved God, loved family, loves heaven.”
Urban legend has it that the “six word memoir” was started by none other than Ernest Hemingway. The legend claims Hemingway bet some fellow writers around a lunch table that he could write a full story in just six words. “Papa” won the bet when he scribbled on a napkin; “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
And thus, Twitter was born. Okay, I made that Twitter part up, but I’ve always wanted to start an Urban Legend.
I enjoyed glancing through a compilation book titled, “Not quite what I was planning” (2008). The promotion said it is a “thousand glimpses of humanity—six words at a time.” Here are just a few:
“Cursed with cancer. Blessed with friends.”
“Painful nerd kid, happy nerd adult.”
“I’m my mother and I’m fine.”
“Seventy years, few tears, hairy ears.”
n his book, All the Places to Go: How Will You Know? Pastor John Ortberg said most Bible characters could have “Not quite what I was planning” as their six word memoir. None of them could have predicted where their lives would take them. He had fun writing some six word memoirs about a few Bible characters:
Does “not quite what you were planning” describe you? If so, you’re in pretty good company. It certainly describes me. In my “Ed”ertainment concerts I often say very tongue-in-cheek, “I thought God had called me to be a wealthy business tycoon. I have since learned He didn’t say, ‘wealthy business tycoon,’ He said, ‘healthy Christian buffoon.’”
Our journey through this life is full of twists and turns. Some are wonderful, some are terrible. Some are glorious, some are dreadful. Some are sensible while some make no sense at all. I can’t help but think of Solomon’s wisdom saying, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Take a moment and read the 22 verses of Ecclesiastes chapter three; it is full of “not quite what we were planning.”
Your partnership with us at LOGOI is also part of your “six word memoir.” You help provide free Bible resources, understanding, and encouragement to national pastors and missionaries as they walk through the journeys God has laid before them. At the same time, you demonstrate your love for the Lord and your longing for the fruition of all God’s promises. For as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “God has planted eternity in our hearts…even though we often have no idea what God is up to” (Ed’s paraphrase).
We are so grateful to be on this amazing journey of life with you. In just six words, we are blessed to say, “We thank the Lord for you!”
P.S. I’d love to hear your six-word memoirs. Include yours on the reply card or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we’ll share some in a future letter.
P.S.S. Please check out our newest children’s book: Laura’s Dancing Hands. It’s a great true story of a little deaf girl we met in Cuba whose hands could hardly sign, “I believe” fast enough after hearing the Gospel.