What's Your Story?
So what's your story?
Maybe that question excites you. Maybe you like talking about yourself. Maybe you have a story that would make the observance of Forrest Gump's life seem like watching paint dry.
Maybe that question frightens you. Maybe you have too much pain in your past. Maybe your path is littered with broken memories, crushed dreams, and potholes of disappointment. Maybe the idea of recalling your past triggers pain, anxiety, depression, or isolation.
My motive in asking you your story is not to trigger celebration or concern, but to simply help you admit that you have a story. It's an important admission because what lies within each of us is an unyielding flame that burns for significance and purpose. Too many of us are looking to our filtered social media pages to find importance and purpose. How many times have we posted something to prove we have value and worth, only to be met with zero likes, retweets, comments, and shares. People glance at our lives and swipe right, moving on to the next thing. If we aren't sharing our story via instastory or tweeting or snapchatting or blogging, then maybe we are sitting at the feet of academia waiting for them to point their cultural finger in the direction of where we must go. Like wide-eyed disciples of the god of Intelligencia we march forward thinking what they tell us to think, believing what they tell us to believe, and investing our lives in the causes they tell us are worth our time, energy, and talent.
I want you to know your story because within its beautiful walls and within its ugly structure is your unique purpose. Academia can help you explore and provide knowledge, training, and experiences that will empower and embolden as you write the unwritten pages of your story. Social media can be a wonderful place to encourage, inspire, and expose others to triumph, hope, and overcoming; without losing the sweet aftertaste of vulnerability. The thesis of your life won't change. The taste of your story won't change, but the stories of your life are yet to unfold. This is the beautiful tension between what was, what is, and what is to come. Scars for example, can trigger pain or trigger joy. Pain - because all we remember is causation, injury, injustice, violation, and/or anger. Joy - because all we can remember is healing, finding strength, recapturing mobility, discovering joy again, etc. I have several scars and I can recall how I got most of them. I feel vulnerable to self-criticism, other's criticism, embarrassment, blame or shame, but I don't live with the pain of those tumbles, falls, and gashes (physically and emotionally). Standing alongside my vulnerability is amazement. I stand amazed at how the human body is designed to heal itself. I stand amazed at the gifted counselors, therapists, and trauma experts who help us heal. I stand amazed at the closeness of loyal family and friends who love regardless of scars, their cause or their healing.
So, what's your story? Who needs to hear it? With whose story do you need to carry involvement?
Your story, woven together within the tapestry of other's stories will enrich your own and their’s. A mosaic of tattered threads, rich fabrics, and majestic patterns will emerge. People will look at, and they will come to see it. Before they know it, they won't just stand as onlookers at your story and those with whom you share life, but they will invite themselves and ask, "Can my story be woven together with yours? I am unfinished and I need to be connected to another in order for my story to find it's context and to make sense."
We need your story. It will show us the power of empathy. It will teach us how to respond courageously when afraid. It will inspire us to overcome. It will move us to get involved against the great unjust causes of our hour. Your story will educate us on how to become better listeners, fierce lovers, and devoted friends.
Please share your story. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of being heard. You are worthy.
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