I have so much to write about it’s been hard to pick a topic today. I truly try to write about areas in which I am struggling or questioning or flare-ups of my character defects. Thus, quite an array of blog opportunities. But today, through a serious of unfortunate events, I now know exactly what I want to talk about, or should I say, expand on…
This idea of “story.” (Read previous post for frame of reference)
Let me give you a quick summary of how I came to this conclusion. Part of why I am back-blogged is that I have been sick for about two weeks and writing seemed like just a little much. Coughing, sniffling, napping and pretty much brain dead, I did only what was necessary to survive and not lose my job. The dead-brain part was especially frustrating and led to the following debacle/God-ordained accident.
When it finally dawned on me that Mother’s Day was only a few days away and that getting a gift to my mom in California on time would be pretty much impossible, I decided to order a book for her that a women’s group at my church is studying: In Want and Plenty by Meredith McDaniel. It would be there before the weekend. Phew. Crisis averted. And it did indeed arrive Two-Amazon-Prime-days later….to my house.
I sent it to myself. Sigh.
I quickly ordered another and decided I might as well keep it since I would be involved in this group over the summer. But, I confess, I had no idea what it was about other than what the title suggested. So I started reading. I was reading along, nodding and underlining some good stuff. For example, I underlined this whole paragraph:
“When all our efforts leave us wanting, we tend to grow depressed an anxious, and then we begin to unravel. We can’t hold it together anymore, and we become paralyzed. We disconnect from other and isolate. The last thing we tend to do is reach out for the support of our community or reveal how we feel.” (You are welcome for that…)
I was beginning to slightly suspect that I could learn a thing or two from this book. And then I read the next sentence, which seemed to come out of nowhere but solidified that me sending that book to myself was no accident:
“But what if we took some time to discover more and look deeper into our story?”
I was innocently reading a book that I thought I had bought for my mom as a gift, and now this author is highlighting the very message I wrote about last week?! The very message I am committed to conveying in a book I am co-authoring about cancer-thrivers?! The very message I model every-single-time I write a blog?!
The message is: our “story” matters. My story. Your story. It all matters to you and it matters to others who need to know that they are not the only one with a messy story and that there is hope woven throughout.
As humans, we tend to talk a lot about what we think and believe. On occasion, others disagree with us and we get into scuffles about who is wrong and who is right. But the beautiful thing about our story is that it’s inarguable. I suppose someone might challenge the facts of our stories, but however we interpret our story makes it feel like the truth to us. And we live accordingly.
The rest of Meredith’s book is designed to help us tell our own story and gain fresh perspective as we revisit some of the components of our past. We don’t want to look back in order to “admire” (as my friend Bruce Pulver always says) our failures or shortcomings or resentments. But we can’t move forward with faith and fervor until we acknowledge and work through the previous circumstances, disappointments, losses, and painful relationships that have brought us to where we have landed today.
When I was being interviewed a couple days ago about the book “Embracing the impact of cancer” that I am working on with a fellow cancer-kicker, the publisher asked us to give a bit of advice for those currently suffering with the disease. One of my answers was, “write it down.” Whatever that looks like for you. Talk it into your notes on your phone, video it, type it, journal it. Document it all because you think you will never forget this hard time, but you will. You think you don’t ever want to talk about this again, but you need to. We need you to.
Whatever your dis-ease is, keep track of what is happening, how you feel about it (good or bad) and how you see God and his people showing up for you and your family. How are you letting God redeem it? Your story is important not only for you, but for others. Who needs to hear your story?
As I always say, “we go through what we go through so we can help others get through what we went through.”
Today’s the day.