Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Telling Your Story....The Bigger Picture

The other day, a friend called me and asked me to talk to the mother of a newly diagnosed young woman.  Noelle was finishing up her homework and I was about to shut down for the night.  I told her that I would make the call, then we'd have our mommy and me time. I got up to walk away, but she said, "you can talk here Mommy." So, I sat back down and made the call. 

When I got off the phone, she came closer to me and said, "Mommy, don't you get tired telling that story? People ask you to tell it all the time and it's the same story every time..." I looked at her and thought about it for a moment, then I told her. "Well, it's not really my story anymore. This is the same story that many other women tell and for me, every time I tell mine, it's like sharing a piece of me, so that the person knows better, feels better and does better. Whenever I tell my story, if it gives someone hope, the feeling of comfort, love and makes people think and do something, then I have to keep telling it. Sometimes, Noelle, our story doesn't really just belong to us. It's for a bigger purpose. God just makes us the vehicle through which the story is told."  She looked at me and sat in silence as she digested it all for a few minutes.  I thought to myself, "she must think I'm freaking crazy." Then she said, "what do you mean vehicle?" I explained. After a long pause, she says, "okay, I get it." I have the feeling that's not the end of that conversation, but the beginning of many, many, more.
What I wanted her to understand was that sharing one's story isn't always just what it appears to be at first glance.  It's more about offering up a part of yourself so that you create a commonality that enables the other person to listen, open up, be inspired or be transformed.  It can be about connecting with someone else on a deeper level, letting them know and feel that you are with them, on their journey because you have walked in their shoes and that they are not alone. When you open your heart to someone, especially someone going through a challenging time, something beautiful happens between the receiver and the giver.  That thing can be inspiration or hope.  Too often, we keep our stories, "our golden nuggets" to ourselves. We think that someone might judge us, feel sorry for us, think differently about us, not understand or we think that our story doesn't matter.  Often times, sharing is like extending a hand or giving someone a hug through your words, and allows others to feel that you two are similar in more ways than you knew.
Nothing is more scary than feeling vulnerable or that you may have exposed too much of your heart, of yourself,, but if your purpose in doing so is to genuinely connect with the heart and soul of another, nothing is lost...