Why do we write in blogs, journals, or memoirs? Is it because we like to see our ideas take shape, or think our messages are profound or revolutionary? Or do we simply write with the hope that they will have value today or tomorrow, have value to or for someone we will probably never meet?
A few weeks ago, a professor asked the question of why should we study history, but the real question, for me at least, is why do we write history? Why do we write our own history in our blogs, journals, and memoirs, a written record of our thoughts and actions? I think we write for three reasons. The first, we hope we are interesting and hope our activities will be of interest to others. The second, we hope that by writing our experiences down, we will learn lessons from our experiences and maybe others will learn from us as well. Third, we do not want to forget our experiences or be forgotten.
These are all valid reasons to write, but a great man taught me one other reason to write. He taught me that we can serve others through our writing, through our research, and through our records. Not just through the lessons or experiences we share, but through the lives of others we preserve through written record.
This great man, great to me at least, passed away two days ago. He had dedicated his retired years to gathering and recording history; specifically the history of his ancestors. Through his work, volumes of information became available to his relatives and to the public. He was never famous and never sought fame, but in certain circles, he was well known and well loved. Most of the histories he wrote were the histories of others, but upon his family’s request he wrote of his own youth and of his experiences as a World War Two POW. When he wrote of his journey in life, it was not to gain fame or attention, but simply to leave a record; a humble record of a man who spent his life serving. Through his life, he served his family, his faith, and his nation.
He set the bar high for those of us who follow, but in doing so he taught us the value of service and the blessings that service brings to our fellow man, to our family, and to ourselves. For in blessing others, he was truly blessed; in loving others he was loved in return.
So why do I write, simply put, to emulate in my own way a great man – I write with an attempt to serve others.