Sure, we’ll start with a quiz. Below are a list of autobiographies written by all sorts of famous people throughout history. I’ll give you the book title, and you guess who wrote them (answers at the end).
- Long Walk to Freedom
- Dreams From My Father
- The Story of My Experiments with Truth
- The Diary Of a Young Girl
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Autobiographies give us a unique insight into the lives and minds of people we have never met. They are a window into a life we have never lived. And yet, despite their uniqueness, each autobiography is filled with moments that we can all relate to:
Heartache and heartbreak; loss and loneliness; fear; pride of achievement and devastating failure; the overcoming of obstacles; dreams and visions that set our hearts on fire. Each unique, yet all the same.
Even the titles listed above give some indication of the journey that each person has been on.
But I wonder, if you were to write an autobiography, what would it be called? And more importantly, what would you include?
You might tell stories about your greatest achievements, moments where your back was against the wall and managed to come out on top.
You might recount your most embarrassing encounters, a story from school, a close-call or a near-miss.
You might write about that special someone, that person who spoke words of wisdom at the wisest of times, that friend, that teacher, that random person who offered encouragement just when you needed it.
You might speak about your dreams, those that have been fulfilled and those that have yet to be realised.
Each unique, yet all the same.
Optional activity: take a moment to write your own autobiography. Note the highs and the lows – the stand-out moments from your life. Write 2-3 pages or just use bullet points.
There’s a verse that has stuck with me since I first heard it years ago. It’s a verse that speaks into every season of life – the highs and the lows, the dreams and failures.
While walking through a barren desert, David speaks to God and declares: “Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!”
I mean, what? Better than life itself?
Better than getting a new car.
Or having a comfortable bank account.
Or Chelsea winning the league.
Or sunny days at the beach.
Or Friday night homemade pizza.
Better than having wealth and health and lots of friends.
Better than Saturday brunch?
Better than fulfilling all of my dreams.
Better than having a life of ease.
They all sound so good.
To know that you are loved unconditionally. To know that no matter what comes your way, you are deeply loved. To know that you are seen and valued and cared for. To know that you are loved regardless of successes and despite apparent failures.
That’s true life.
For in him we live and move and have our being.
- Long Walk to Freedom: Nelson Mandela
- Dreams From My Father: Barack Obama
- Open: Andre Agassi
- Moonwalk: Michael Jackson
- The Story of My Experiments with Truth: Mahatma Gandhi
- The Diary Of a Young Girl: Anne Frank
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou
Feel free to post your score if you’re not totally embarrassed!