Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Story- Take Two...

***  This is the post that I had intended to post last week right as the events in Boston were unfolding.  The rest of the week was really intense on many fronts and so today I want to share some thoughts on story.  I do believe the stories we believe and tell greatly impact the direction our lives go in.  My guess is that I will probably do a series of posts on this idea, in due time.  Enjoy!***

I often spout off with critique about the culture that is surrounding us, but today I have a different sort of perspective to offer up about the times we are living in.  I have seen a revival of more layered storytelling in all of the arts and it is most certainly very exciting to me.  Story is my passion.  My story, another individual’s story, community story, spiritual story, national story, global story.  I love story via song or silence, via image or tone, via poetry or prose, via movement or stillness.

I will let you in on a little secret. I just kind of landed in children’s ministry, it was never where I intended to go.  I am glad for the diversion because I learned so much during that season and I know that there was purpose in that time.  I was searching to understand my story and just fell into my first vocational ministry job at the tender age of almost 20.  Take that in for a minute...I was only 20 when I was charged with the spiritual education of young people...and 20-ish at that, still a babe myself.  I was there for a minute before I fell in love with my work.  I had experience as a nanny, a preschool aid, and a youth leader, so I loved combining those skills into a patchwork quilt that covered me with God’ grace during what ended up being a 10 year career.  I was good at what I was helping to create, but it was not my passion.  What I loved about my work was understanding story.  Teaching story.  Listening to story.  Inspiring story for someone else.

And then I could not deny I was aching to go off to write more of my own story, so while struggling with infertility, I went to half time work in order to have more time for writing, or school, or adoption, or child-rearing, or something that I was not quite sure of yet; but I knew I needed more space for my story in the next season of my life.  Nothing changed right away, but over the course of many years I found my groove and travelled through the unfolding of my life, my marriage, and eventually my family blessed with three incredible little people who showed up with their own stories aching to be experienced.

I have had to daily disciple my narcissistic heart to honor my own story but keep it in perspective, so I don’t miss a person who wants to share their story with me.  I actually kind of suck at that level of intuitiveness and sensitivity most of the time... but some days I get it right and the older I get the more days I get to experience someone around me entrusting me with a glimpse into their heart story.  That is were the good stuff is now isn’t it. 

We all have a story that we carry with us and conventional wisdom suggests that the story gets written for us and we just need to accept it and go on our way through life, doing the best we can with what narrative we were given.  I now believe that is only half of the story.  We are born into a distinct time with caregivers, resources, or geography we don’t get to choose, yet we can write our own revision of the narrative we were given and we can change the direction of our path.  I know this first hand.  My story has neglect, abuse, misuse, and isolation woven into the seams, but it also has hope, unconditional love, and community reinforcing the very structure of my tapestry.  How I feel, what I choose, how I behave, where I spend my resources and my time are all greatly impacted by the degree in which I can hold in integration all of the dynamics of my story.  The bad experiences are as powerful as the good experiences, but no single experience deserves to overshadow all of the others.  When I can see my story as a whole entity... good with the bad, struggle with the triumph, success with the failure I can live in the middle of my center.  That is what I believe I am supposed to be doing... living in my center so that I can be expectant and open to the story God wants to tell through my story.  Jesus was the ultimate story teller...teller of his own story, teller of the love and peace that passes all understanding that brought the story of humanity to climax and ultimately to an ending that works really well for us depraved souls.

I choose to embrace story, to pay attention to the stories swirling around me, and celebrate this amazing art form.  I hope you have a day with some excellent story woven in and through it!

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