I love a good story.
When I was a little girl, my favorite part of the day came just before bedtime. My mom would choose a story to read me from a children’s Bible. She would write that day’s date just above the title to cut down on repeats, but there were many that I wanted to hear again and again.
After the book and my eyes were closed, I often imagined myself into the stories. I’d pretend I was petting a giraffe as mighty waves rocked Noah’s ark; and I’d add a character to walk beside me and search for shells while crossing the parted Red Sea.
As I got older, my love for stories turned me into an avid reader. I remember devouring Gone With The Wind when I was 12-years-old. I simply could not get enough of the epic novel that centered around a strong-willed, yet selfish young woman whom I admired in one paragraph and disliked in the next.
I also began writing my own stories. Mostly fiction. Then one day during college I overheard a classmate of mine chattering to her friends about — of all things — an experience she had while eating her tuna sandwich.
This might sound utterly ridiculous … and stalkerish … but I was riveted. And hearing her simple story made me want to share more of mine.
The details she added made her tale of sea chicken hilarious. She had a gift for storytelling. Her secret? She shared with passion. Yeah, the anecdote centered around a fish sandwich, but it was deeper than that. She spoke in a manner that connected with people.
And that’s the BEST part of a story … the connection. The realization that we are not in it alone.
Throughout the years, as age and the understanding of my worth in the eyes of God shaped me braver, I started sharing my own stories. Some of what I tell comes from the raw, bleeding places of my soul. Sometimes I don’t go too deep and dish about what’s going on in my life right now. There are times when nostalgia owns my voice and times when my tales are ripe with whimsy.
They’re all worth telling, because they are all a part of me. I don’t share every story I have with everyone I know. Telling all is not a requirement of true, life-giving community. But I do my best to tell the parts of my story that will promote healing whether it is through laughter, tears, or logic.
This year, I have the privilege to share pieces of my heart at (in)RL.
I’m also so excited to host my own (in)RL meet up this April (Although I’m gonna admit right here that I’m more than a little nervous about the fact that no one has RSVP’d yet … but that will come right? *smiles hopefully*). And I really hope you’ll join me. If not at mine in the DC area, at one near you.
I invite you to register for (in)RL (as a host or attendee) and share your story. Registration is free and you can sign up here.You don’t have to go deep. In fact, you don’t need to say more than hello, because sometimes the best parts of our stories aren’t shared through words. But regardless of how much you talk or don’t talk, I do hope you come as you are.
I’m linking up today over at (in)courage with some of the other (in)RL speakers to share our stories – please head over and be encouraged by more of these amazing ladies!
A great big thank you to Jennifer from Studio JRU for giving me permission to use her artwork in this post!