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My Life so Far

a snail upon its own reflection

Because of the title of this reflection, you may think that it’s going to be long. But it’s not. I’m reflecting on the writing of my life — my memoir — not the entire living of my life, so I’ll be pretty brief. Brief because there isn’t much to tell about the progress of my memoir.

In my last progress report, I stated, with some happiness, and that I had my rough draft complete. In full disclosure, I described it as a very, very rough draft. Well, now, three months later, I have perhaps progressed to a very rough draft. Although I do not really consider the loss of one “very” to be progress, I guess something is better than totally nothing.

Heavy sigh.

There have been some good moments, though. The best one came after I decided to set the book aside entirely, just forget about writing the story of my life, my faith journey, as something that was simply too difficult to do. Something I simply do not want to do. In its place, I picked up another book idea I had in 2020 — a book of Lenten reflections based on the series that I wrote for Lent that year. I turned my attention to this idea, gathering together the reflections, changing some tenses and tone, noticing other parts that I would need to adjust. As I thought more deeply about it, however, I realized that I did not want to write this book either. I decided that the idea was really better for a magazine article, or series of articles, something that I should work on for submission to a Catholic publication.

This momentary abandonment of my “memoir” helped me to more clearly see the potential value of the book — its value based on the good that it could do, certainly not the revenue it could earn. So now my mind and heart have returned to this enterprise.

Even if my actual working hours have not.

Heavy sigh.

As I’ve written here before, summer is not a great time for me to work on a writing project. The older that I get, the more I understand and feel the “lazy” in the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. The “hazy” as well.

So that this reflection won’t just be a progress report on nothing, allow me to give you a little peek at my rough draft. The teeniest, tiniest peek, like a glimpse of the horizon when a breeze stirs the leaves of a wooded hilltop, or the briefest flash of a lightning bug in the evening’s tall grass.

The working title is This Is My Body: A Disabled Woman’s Quest for Beauty and Truth. I have other versions of the title as well, however. I once casually (to myself) referred to the book as a love letter to the body that God has given to me. That’s not a bad way to describe it. Every book needs a theme, a kind of motif carried throughout the book that gives it cohesive coherency and greater meaning. So the written story of my life is going to be a pro-life book — NOTHING political, no general statements or statistics, no pro-life “preaching” at all. People picking it up and reading it might not even recognize it as a pro-life book. (Except for you, dear reader, who now has the inside scoop.) Having a cause that is greater than myself is the only way that I can rationalize the above-mentioned value of the book. I hope that everyone who reads it will come to subconsciously (or more consciously) understand the inherent dignity and sanctity of every human and appreciate that every life is worth living — from the very beginning to the very end.

Therefore, in another sneak peek, the first chapter of the book is entitled “Conception” (my physical conception, which I’ve written, as well as the conception of the book, which I have not), and the last chapter is entitled “Lay Me down,” which is a poetic description of how I would like my deceased body laid out in a casket. That last part may be more of an epilogue than a final chapter. One of the many, many, many decisions that I have not made yet.

Some other working titles of chapters:

Hard Shoes, Small Potatoes, and the Red Balloon (my first memories)

The Girl on the Chore Board (first grade)

Mary of the Summer Storms (my childhood neighbor and best friend)

Me and Jesus: Why I Never Would’ve Said That

Seeking Universal Truth

Doing Something Daring

2017: Inspire, Expire

Covid Lockdowns and My Trip around the World

Can this count as doing work on the memoir? I ask this giggling, because I have not done a thing on it in a couple of weeks… maybe three or four… or five….)

In order to spend time on the book, I haven’t been writing my usual reflections here. However, not writing weekly on my blog has, I believe, been detrimental to my spiritual life. My reflections are as much for me as for any of you, because they help me process and understand. It’s like the best way that I can listen to what God may want me to know is through writing. So I will be returning to “blogging” through the summer, but still only on the first and third Thursdays of the month. (Unless I feel like throwing in another here and there, of course.) The first reflection of July will be prescheduled. I had intended to hold off on publishing it until winter or spring, but I have been recalling the words of the reflection so often lately that I want to share it with you now. Later, I know that there will be reflections on Mary, The Mother of Jesus, as my relationship with her has been undergoing some developments. So stay tuned!

And enjoy summer — with no pressure to enjoy it at all. 🙂

© 2022 Christina Chase


Feature Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

Christina Chase View All

Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.

2 thoughts on “My Life so Far Leave a comment

  1. Dear Christina, You have been truly doing a lot on this Memoir! The maneuvering of thoughts, cogitating on different angles or goals, stopping point blank on this project, trying different themes, choosing the best titles for chapters, etc., etc., etc., is indeed the evolving creation of Beauty and Truth in this Memoir! Sometimes perfection is a messy process with trials and errors and aggravation and even sweat and tears. And you are bravely taking on this challenge of creating your Memoir for a Greater or Higher Cause, a non-political Pro-Life personal history. I’m sure your creative labor on this Memoir shows how much you care and want to perfect your powerful message of Truth and Beauty! And your beautiful body and mind and soul is trying to fulfill the Will of Our Father!
    I really enjoyed “My Life So Far” and am hungry for more of your reflections and writings!

    Martha

    Liked by 1 person

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