Chapters and Hinges

Memory Monday

So I’m taking this Spiritual Formation class and over the course of the term we’re supposed to be journaling our lives in order to come up with a “Life Map” or a “Spiritual Autobiography.” We start by identifying “hinges” in our lives: events where life took a turn for the different. Next we journal about the period of time between each of the hinges, trying to discern what was really going on underneath everything that was going on then–who was important in our lives at that time, what our frame of mind and frame of reference was, “where” God was in the events of the period. It’s proving to be pretty interesting . . . and time consuming.

Below please find, for your consideration, my list of hinges and some life “chapter” titles under which the hinges are incorporated. In upcoming weeks, I’ll divulge some of the content of the chapters, although anticipate vaguer details in the more recent chapters. I still know some of the people in them, and have no interest in airing other people’s dirty laundry. Or my own, for that matter!

See? Chapters, and hinges, too.

See? Chapters, and hinges, too.

Chapter One – In Which I Am Born and Almost Immediately Go International

Hinge Event One __Birth

Chapter Two – In Which I Am No Longer the Center of the Universe (not that I have even yet figured that out, really).

Hinge Event Two __Birth of TheBro

Hinge Event Three _Move to USA

Chapter Three – In Which There Are Growing Pains

Hinge Event Four __Period (Yeah, the girl kind) (Someone told me to be sure not to mention this in my class since I am the only woman in it–which made me realise that it was, indeed, a hinge event and that mentioning it and watching the awkward squirming might be kind of funny. I’m really not a very nice person . . . )

Hinge Event Five __High School Graduation

Chapter Four – In Which Faith and Friends Become My Own

Hinge Event Six __College Graduation

Hinge Event Seven _London

Chapter Five – In Which I Undergo a Third-Life Crisis

Hinge Event Eight __Back to USA

Hinge Event Nine __2008 (A lot, by which I mean a lot of stuff happened in 2008. Technically, a year isn’t supposed to be a hinge, but this one was.)

Chapter Six – In Which Third-Life Becomes Mid-Life and Two Lives Become One

Hinge Event Ten  __My Paul & Marriage

I wonder what chapters and hinges will come after this . . . You’re probably just wondering what all those chapters are about.

And how about you? What are your life hinges? Those moments that change everything–which was your favourite? Which was the most harrowing? Tell us a story . . .

8 thoughts on “Chapters and Hinges

  1. This is spectacular. And so personal. It’s a good thing you’re taking your time. This should be time consuming, I think. I wonder how the guys in your class are taking this. In the youth group I lead in church, we had an exercise just like this (but, you know, suited for 12-14 year olds), and all the girls started drawing time lines, marking important events and dreaming up the future. None of the guys liked it. Some did make drawings, but they refused to take it seriously. As you’re not 14 year old anymore, this shouldn’t pose too many problems for the men in your class, but I thought it was funny to see opposite takes on time lines and hinches.

    In asking for a story, you’re asking for a lot. The best stories are too personal, the mediocre stories are too generic and the boring stories easily forgotten. I’ll try to find the best of the first two, and with that, the one that’s most pressing in my mind.

    I was in a relationship when I met her. I wasn’t really, because my ex girlfriend and I were on a break. We had been together for a year, three months, four months, two months, and some intermezzos ranging one to three months. As we were just on a break, I had no intention to find a relationship. At the same time, I was looking for attention from other girls. I had gotten into the nasty habit of ‘making the most of the breaks’ and spent many nights going out. At one of those nights, an American girl walked up to me. She had been in the country for two days, and she was having an introductory night in a club. She told me that I couldn’t be on the dance floor and not be dancing. I thanked her sarcastically for her comments, so she walked away. Later, she came up to me again. I told her she’d have to dance with me. We danced for a whole night, in which I tried to kiss her three times. She refused all those times. When she was going away, she wanted to shake my hand. ‘That’s not how we say goodbye in the Netherlands. After dancing like this, you have to give me your number.’ I replied. ‘I don’t have a phone yet, so I can’t give you my number. You can add me on Skype.’

    We spent the next nine weeks on a weekly basis, later even more days in the week. At our first date, I took her for a walk around 6pm (well, she was two hours late, so technically it was 8pm). I didn’t bring her back to her dorm until 230am. I had never talked with a girl like this on so many levels, so easily. I cancelled other dates I had lined up and decided to focus on her. After all, she’d be in the country for just nine weeks, after which I’d go back to my girlfriend. Perfect situation. After nine weeks, she was going to spend nine weeks in China, then nine in Thailand, and then move on to Vienna and Geneva in the same way. Of course, she was gone forever. I went back to my girlfriend and saw what I missed. We had a relationship that wasn’t sparkling, although there was nothing evidently wrong. Two weeks into trying again, I realized the thought of growing old together plainly freaked me out. Also, I realized who it was that I wanted to grow old with. I broke up the relationship that had gone on for so long (and has brought me so much) and turned my life to the American girl and God ; after all, the two go very well together. When she was coming to Vienna, about five months after I made the decision, I could go and see her. It’s only a one-hour flight. Those five months have been very important. I had to learn to get rid of my bad habit of turning to girls for confidence, get my life together, work on analyzing myself, and all the while I had no idea how she would feel about me. When I arrived in Vienna, I was anxious beyond reason. There was a good chance I turned my life on the imagination that there could be something more. It was a change that would have been good for me either way, but I had a reason for doing so. Even if she felt the same about me, I didn’t know how she would react to the whole ‘O yeah, I was on a break with a girlfriend when I was seeing you, but don’t worry, I’m all ready to grow old with you’ business (I might have brought it in phases; the first part after a day, the second part way later). Worst of all, my phone service went away as soon as I left my hotel to see her. I took the wrong turn at the metro station and wondered a new city for hours before arriving at her door. There was no doorbell, so I had to borrow a random person’s phone so I could call her. ‘I think I’m in front of your door. I know I’m in the right street, but if you could come outside to come get me, because I don’t see a doorbell.’ The next part can only be read in slow motion. She came down the stairs I thought would be the right stairs, gasped at seeing me, ran towards me and kissed me. That surprised the two of us so much, we didn’t even touch each other for a day.

    • Wow. That is a GREAT story. Thanks for sharing it, and in such detail.

      As for the guys in my class–two of them seem to be just fine with these exercises (though I’m sure they’re working through them differently than I do), but the youngest one definitely has some “blockage.” I do agree–I think it’s an age thing.

  2. Hmmm…this would be hard for me to do. I don’t like airing my laundry either. I am in the midst of a hinge though if that counts. I had a very difficult pregnancy last year (my son is now great, btw), and after many post-partem issues, I have been diagnosed with Lupus. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, so it all really makes a lot of sense given my history of medical issues, including the pregnancy which was my fifth. I have two sons, so you get the picture. I believe this hinge happened in this way because if I had been diagnosed before then I would not have tried for another baby, and I love him more than life…naturally!

  3. This sounds like a fascinating project. I am not sure I could do this for myself, although it would be interesting, in some ways, to see what kind of “map” I would have. I’m still having trouble figuring out when I have feelings and what those feelings are, though … so I think “hinges” would be way beyond me at this point. >.O

    This is totally off the subject, but I had to share: I love your handwriting!

    • Haha–thanks! 🙂

      Hinges are less about feelings than about concrete events that changed your life trajectory, so you could totally do that part. Journalling through the in-betweens is definitely a challenge, though. I got myself up to my London hinge and now I’m stuck–and I suspect it’s because there’s stuff in there (and stuff to come after that one) that I don’t really want to look at again at this point . . .

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