I believe within every person there lies an incredible story. A thrilling tale – winding, unpredictable and wild, pulsing through their veins, just like the red blood that proves them living and viable. The story, just like the blood of life, rolls through hidden passageways – the brain and the organs of life – pressing on through the heart and recreating itself over and over.
It’s the heart that plows out the rows for our story. Although the brain would like to assume it is steering the ship, commanding the crew and making the calls, that diluted organ is just the ‘yes-man’. The heart wears the badge of captain, the weight of the world lying on its fragile frame, as it pursues the content of our story and drags the rest of the operation into its whimsies.
There is nothing remarkable here – nothing earth shattering or different, but there is such beauty to be found in everyone’s STORY. This is how my story begins:
Coming into the world I was stubborn and not ready to leave the warmth of my mother’s womb. One month late, I arrived pink and screaming. Lungs open and air taken in I began to feel the world immediately. My skin bubbled and blistered. My cry turned sick. I did not appreciate this new phenomenon of oxygen. Being born a month late had come with its repercussions. The water I had swum in had turned sour. I had out-stayed my welcome. My skin and lungs had a penance to pay.
Pneumonia, the tuberculosis germ, my skin scaly and full of blisters, I was a handful. The common cold could have killed me. I was always ill. My mother could not nurse me. Mother and father took turns with my exasperating, needy care. Diapers changed, the cream applied, the bottle perfectly tilted so as to not further upset my easily upset stomach. My father rocked me and sang to me in his tenor voice. Hits of the 70’s. “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…”. He ran his index finger down my tiny nose until my mouth went slack and I sighed the sleepy milky sigh of slumber.
By age three I had come around and understood that I was tougher than a bit of illness. Healthy and vibrant now, I had a brother and sister to catch up with. There were cats, dogs, birds and bugs to touch. Water to splash in, bubbles to pop and mud to paint with on my skin. There was so much to see. The way the dust fairies danced around the curtains in the afternoon, the way the early dawning sun lit my room up with an enchanting blue light, the peeling wallpaper above the kitchen cabinets and my brother’s freckled cheeks.
My nose was never tired of smelling the muskiness of my fathers cologne, my mother’s hand lotion, the cookies baking, the coffee steaming out of a mug, the carpet as I lay on my belly napping on the living room floor. The things to taste and feel and experience were not lost on my little child self. I fingered the nubs of the vinyl seats of our station wagon, I noticed the softness of my mother and the opposite, but just as welcoming, hardness of my father, and I felt my own self as somewhere in between.
There is truly nothing remarkable about the plot of this passage. I was born. I was a bit sickly and my parents had to take great care to make sure I was okay at first, but I grew out of it. I could have said those words and you would still know how my life began. However look what happens when you take these simple things and you apply story. It’s like magic. This concept has never stopped amazing me. It is such an unbelievable gift to know that as long as we are living, our tapestry of woven life is never done with creating, complicating, rebuilding, redirecting and making us beautiful.
There is power in our story too. Even if it is just a few simple words – a sentence strung together to say: ‘This is who I am’. Sharing our lives, our heart – our Commanding Captain – with others is so powerful and so brave. Letting someone really see who you are – see your story – seems to be happening less, even though we see more of people than ever.
We see so much on social media…but it is not ‘who I am’ – it is ‘who I think I would like to be’ or ‘I would like you to think I am this’. ‘This is who I am’ happens with story…and truth and words that are hard to say. Authentic connections have been lost. Story is contained to 180 characters and perfectly filtered photos. The rows carved out by our heart are often trotted alone, even though our friends claim to know us through and through.
I want to share my story. I want the mundane to be remarkable, by being heard and known. I want to weave people into my life’s tapestry by giving them a safe and eager place to have their story heard.
Maybe it’s my undying love for the written and spoken word, but I believe this element of understanding an individual’s story is an element missing from our society that – if we could find the time to reconnect ourselves to it – it would heal so many ills. Marriages could be saved, children and parents may understand each other, someone might finally stop the production of horrible pop music and we may even, bit by excruciating bit, begin to become the humanity our Creator had always hoped we would be.
There is such power in story,