Can You Rewrite History?

May 1, 2015 –Susan

Yes, I think we, as creative human beings, can appropriately rewrite history. When I say “rewriting history” I do not mean simply changing the facts so one is the good guy. Rather, I mean, reinterpreting the story, with all the details, positive and negative, such that it becomes a positive motivating force. It is what I have come to call “redeeming the terrible.”

I just finished reading two fascinating books. Unbroken is about Louie Zamporini, who was a prisoner of war in WWII for a little more than two years. A House in the Sky is about Amanda Lindhout, a journalist, who was held for ransom in Somalia for about 15 months. Both of them moved through cycles of hope and extreme despair during their months of captivity. Each was tortured physically and mentally, malnourished, beaten, and each suffered from numerous untreated and potentially life-threatening maladies. In addition, Amanda was raped repeatedly.

Amanda and Louie suffered the effects of PTSD after being released. And yet, each found ways to reinterpret his/her story and come to a place of forgiveness. Louie returned to Japan and met with several of his tormenters. Amanda has begun a foundation in Sudan intent on educating people there, particularly girls and women.

Their strength of will during their captivities was formidable and admirable. But I found the aftermath of captivity to be even more fascinating. Denial did not serve them well, in fact, it was self-destructive. Eventually each found ways to face what had happened to them and come to terms with it. For Zamporini particularly, that was a long process; the significant turning point for him involved hearing Billy Graham and having a profound conversion experience.

So, each of them faced the terrible. Each found ways to forgive themselves and their tormenters. Each learned lessons and took what had been learned to build a future. They redeemed the terrible by changing what the horrendous experiences meant. I call that rewriting history in a way that brings life and light to the world.

Can You Rewrite History? May 1, 2015

Yes, I think we, as creative human beings, can appropriately rewrite history. When I say “rewriting history” I do not mean simply changing the facts so one is the good guy. Rather, I mean, reinterpreting the story, with all the details, positive and negative, such that it becomes a positive motivating force. It is what I have come to call “redeeming the terrible.”

I just finished reading two fascinating books. Unbroken is about Louie Zamporini, who was a prisoner of war in WWII for a little more than two years. A House in the Sky is about Amanda Lindhout, a journalist, who was held for ransom in Somalia for about 15 months. Both of them moved through cycles of hope and extreme despair during their months of captivity. Each was tortured physically and mentally, malnourished, beaten, and each suffered from numerous untreated and potentially life-threatening maladies. In addition, Amanda was raped repeatedly.

Amanda and Louie suffered the effects of PTSD after being released. And yet, each found ways to reinterpret his/her story and come to a place of forgiveness. Louie returned to Japan and met with several of his tormenters. Amanda has begun a foundation in Sudan intent on educating people there, particularly girls and women.

Their strength of will during their captivities was formidable and admirable. But I found the aftermath of captivity to be even more fascinating. Denial did not serve them well, in fact, it was self-destructive. Eventually each found ways to face what had happened to them and come to terms with it. For Zamporini particularly, that was a long process; the significant turning point for him involved hearing Billy Graham and having a profound conversion experience.

So, each of them faced the terrible. Each found ways to forgive themselves and their tormenters. Each learned lessons and took what had been learned to build a future. They redeemed the terrible by changing what the horrendous experiences meant. I call that rewriting history in a way that brings life and light to the world.