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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

How Much Can You Say in Six Words?

Legend has it that the writer Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a short story in six words. (Some say the legend is probably not true.) Nevertheless, the six-word story attributed to him is this poignant one:

For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Over the years, other writers rose to the challenge and produced these examples of “flash fiction” as it is sometimes called:

Ring. Church. Groom. “Where is she?”

They lived happily ever after, separately.

Dinner for two, widower and memories.

Alcohol brought us together, and apart.

Recovery never really ends, does it?

Several years ago, Regina Brett, former columnist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, challenged her readers to write a memoir in six words. Here are a few her readers submitted:

Student of life; child of God.

Still having fun…

Seventy-one, and still having fun!

Child. Mother. Grandmother. Tried my best.

Been there, done that, what next?

Found the answer: Live, love, listen.

Divorced single mom, praying, forgiving, persevering!

Unemployed writer, looking for white space.

To mark her 51st wedding anniversary, one woman wrote: Passed silver. Passed gold. Anticipating diamond.

Brett’s favorite one was: Won some. Lost some. Still winsome.

A few years back, an article in Reader’s Digest (Feb. ’09) contained excerpts from the book, Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak. Here are a few memoirs from that book:

Where he is, I am home.

Love…

Love: eight pounds and six ounces.

In hindsight, I’d still choose you.

Moved in. No ring. Moved out.

Hired me. Fired me. Married me.

My life’s accomplishments? Sanity, and you.

What about you? I invite you to try to say something meaningful in six words. It can be a story, a memoir, or even a bumper sticker. Or what about a six-word prayer? When I taught high school English and creative writing, I often did the assignments I gave my students—so I would appreciate the work (and the fun!) that was often involved. So, I will conclude this reflection with a few of my own attempts to say something meaningful in six words.

Six-word prayers:

Dear God. It’s me. Help! Amen.

Fun-loving God, please tickle my fancy.

Speak to me, Lord. Please enunciate.

Thank You for puppies and strawberries.

Here is a six-word description of my prayer life: Ordinary, mostly. Amazing, occasionally. Daily, always.

I wrote this inscription for my tombstone years ago: She was lucky—and she knew it. (I know, that’s seven words!)

Snow…

Here’s a poem I wrote a while ago. It’s called “Snow”: Glad it falls in flakes—not balls. (I know… that’s seven words again…)

Now it’s your turn to try to write something in six words. It can be serious, funny, profound, poignant, mysterious, or whatever. If you want to label your six words (short story, memoir, prayer, epitaph) that’s fine. But you don’t have to. And to encourage responses, I am giving away a FREE copy of my little book, The Lord is My Shepherd, to one lucky person. I will put in a bag the names of all those who respond to this week’s blog in any way and draw the name of the lucky winner. Deadline for responses is January 5, 2019 midnight (EST).  Winner will be announced on my blog next Monday, January 7th. I eagerly look forward to your responses below! I’m sure my readers will enjoy them too!

I want to wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy, and Holy New Year! I am holding each of you in special prayer. Thank you so much for reading my blog!

Jesus once described himself in six words: “The Way, the Truth, the Life.” Here is a beautiful song based on those six words. It’s called “The Way” and is sung by Pat Barrett. It’s an appropriate song to sing as we journey through the New Year.

Please respond to this reflection and/or song below. I also welcome your six-word stories, memoirs, prayers, or whatever! If you respond below, you will automatically be entered in the contest to win that free book!

160 Responses

  1. THE SEASONS

    Snow blossoms from cold black branches.

    Petals flurry from shrubs and trees.

    Brute sun shrills a strident gospel.

    Leaves blaze red. Hurt nerves cool.

    SELF-PORTRAIT 1

    I have belly. I am belly.

    SELF-PORTRAIT 2

    Year fifty. Mirror looks like Dad.

    SELF-PORTRAIT 3

    Stumbled often. Grace, love, still happened.

    PRAYER

    Holy One, be mercy in me.

    1. Be still and know I’m God…
      Lord, grant me patience, but HURRY!
      Don’t count sheep, follow the Shepherd.
      Still newlyweds, still honeymooning? You bet!
      Family…his, mine, ours…together, GOD’S!
      Trust HIM! He trusts us, right?!?
      Know, love and serve God…always!
      Our Father who art in heaven…

    1. Lou, thank you! So often done with love with no love in return. But Jesus told us we must love! He loved me so much He died for me! I am grateful, there are no other words. Grateful!

  2. Self portrait:
    Sympathetic heart. hardheaded mind. Constant battle.

    Today:
    Grateful for a cat’s warm purring.

    Epitaph:
    Often gets in her own way.

  3. Self Portrait:
    Constantly seeking unwavering trust in God.

    Short Story:
    Fear not. Call on Jesus. PEACE.

    Prayer:
    Holy Spirit. Provide health. Use me.

    Epitaph:
    She hugged the world. No sweat.

  4. Enjoying all the others, adding mine.

    Me:
    Wife, Mother, Quilter,
    Child of God

    Prayers
    Mini Thomas Merton:
    Only have desire to please God.

    Mini suscipe of St. Ignatius:
    Take me, Lord
    Grace is enough.

  5. Study much; act kindly; love big!

    Bear children; bear heartache; reap love!

    Tears in joy, thank you God!

    Tears in pain; much to gain!

    Head, heart, hands, feet I give!

  6. Birds fly. Butterflies fly. I soar.

    Look in the mirror see God.

    Baby smiles. God smiles. We rejoice.

    The days lengthen and I rejoice.

    Be still for I am God.

    Embrace. Hold hands. We are one.

    Mercy. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Family of God.

    One world. One atmosphere. One people.

    Love one another as I love you.

  7. Good Wife; Good Life; Good Lord!

    Mental Health: Awareness! Understanding! Empathy! Action!

    Dear God!! I’m Drowning! Save Me!!!

    Living in the moment, I’m complete!!

    Dude: Attitude of Gratitude At Any Latitude!

    Just For Now- Let It Go!

    My Religion? Love is my Religion!

  8. Sister Melannie,
    Once again your blog speaks volumes to all.
    Thank you for these Monday readings and thoughts.
    Happy New Year!

  9. Take me Lord, I’m all yours!

    Thanks Melanie for all you do and who you are!
    Joni (the suscipe is still ingrained in my heart and soul)

  10. Dear Sister Melanie, I’m the lady who sent Regina the: “Passed Silver, Passed Gold, Anticipating Diamond” Now…………

    Ten years ago – now passed 61!

    Loved your asking God to “enunciate!”

    Thanks for everything; Happy New Year!

  11. Act justly, love tenderly, walk humbly.
    My daily mantra. I pray that God is always beside me in this life.

  12. My destination the kingdom of God
    See Him be Him with everyone
    Awsome power above humbly manifested Love

  13. Bear all with patience and love.

    My scripture mantra:
    Rest in God alone, my soul.

    Perfect moment:
    God, me, a cup of tea!

  14. Emmanuel God is with us here.

    Thank you for your insights and for this lovely exercise. I will share this with my community and students.

  15. My mom died, just before Christmas.
    The loss resides in my heart.
    Pain, causing debilitating fatigue and sadness.
    Blessings for me…faith, family, friends.
    God’s Promises, family’s hugs, friends’ calls.
    Lifting me gently, toward New Year.

  16. Thank you Sr. Melanie,
    For providing such a beautiful blog. In spite of suffering, we praise God. I appreciate the faith expressed on this site. With only six words, we pick each other up allowing the Holy Spirit to make beauy out of ashes.

  17. Dearest Sr. Melanni, thank you for your beautiful post. What a gray way to start a new year! Blessings! M.

    What, again? I do forgive you.

    Breathe me, Lord. Ruah! Breathe me.

    75 gone; what will 76 bring?

    The Lord is my Shepherd. Alleluia!!

  18. Hi Sr. Melanie! Thanks for keeping this blog going. I really appreciate your posts. And I love this one on writing. The one memoir “student of life, child of God” felt like I wrote it for myself!

    Here are my six words:

    Open Mind ~ Open Heart ~ Open Body

    Many blessings!

    Amy

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