Memoirs don’t feed the hungry, or do they?

Happy Easter! Thank goodness for Jesus! This post may seem religious, but it’s really about making choices about what matters. Sitting in church last week, I thought about how I am not very active in church anymore. I have not taught Sunday school or sat on any committees or been involved in mission-type programs for quite a few years now. Our church offers a lot of opportunities to help the down and out, but all I do is bring food each Sunday for local pantries and donate school supplies once or twice a year. I do regularly send greeting cards to an elderly homebound church member, and I do usually adopt a family at Christmas. Jesus told us to take care of those who are the least and the lost, but I didn’t think I was doing my part very well. I am too busy.

What am I doing instead? Besides my part-time job and taking care of house and yard, I have my little book publishing company, help others figure out how to write and publish their memoirs, and participate on three very active nonprofit boards. I get upset sometimes because I don’t have much free time, but I love all that I do and don’t want to stop doing any of them. None of them, though, is helping the world be a better place. I felt bad.

Then I thought that maybe these things I do ARE actually helping, just in small ways. Two of the boards I am involved with share culture, which enriches lives and helps open people’s minds to worlds besides their own little ones. Helping people write and publish their memoirs not only enriches the authors’ lives and that of their families, but many memoirs are very helpful. They can be healing for the author, let others feel they are not alone, give new ideas for coping, or give the gift of laughter to relieve stress. Memoirs encourage empathy and understanding as they teach new perspectives. Cherry Blossoms in Twilight has taught many older Americans that their WWII enemy’s civilians were very much like them, something to remember in all wars. My latest project, Battlefield Doc, gives civilians insight into what combat was like during the Korean War, and a serious appreciation for combat veterans, many permanently traumatized by their service and well-deserving of the best health care.

I will continue to feel a little guilty, but I realize it’s okay if I don’t join the Peace Corps like my gutsy writer friend Sonia Marsh. I am not smart enough to come up with a Shower to the People van like Jake Austin. For now, I will just plug away and make little differences one person at a time and continue donating to some of the infinite number of worthy programs out there. You can’t do it all, you have to choose. Sometimes, of course, just a friendly smile or hug can make a world of difference to someone. Let your light shine. Happy Easter!

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About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), and cats
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4 Responses to Memoirs don’t feed the hungry, or do they?

  1. Mustang.Koji says:

    You do make differences in people’s lives – big ones! For instance, your mom’s memoirs helped me fill in gaps in my understanding of how life was for Japanese girls. Keep making differences in our lives!

  2. I’m coming to the conclusion that we’re each given passions for a purpose and the best thing we can do is follow them. Of course you and I share those passions for helping other writers, so it’s easy for me to support you in that.

    Remember that Sunday school song that goes

    Little drops of water,
    little grains of sand,
    make the mighty ocean
    and the beauteous land.

    Little deeds of kindness,
    little words of love,
    make our earth an Eden,
    like the heaven above.
    ….

    Oh, yeah. Let’s just keep dripping away.

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