There is something like magic that happens within, when you begin to tell your stories.
As words form and take shape from your heart and your mind to your throat and vocalized or extended through written words.
Sometimes it begins in a whisper …
Maybe for a while it is held within the space between only you and God.
And then maybe it is a story you dare to share with someone close, someone that you hope will listen.
And then maybe it is shared in vulnerability in a broader sense.
…and sometimes that story develops into a ROAR!
Beauty happens when you tell your story. Whether that is in quiet trust or public display…beauty happens.
There is something tangible that can almost be held thick when a story is shared between one human being to another.
It is the connection, the vulnerability, the truth-telling.
It is the releasing of a piece of yourself to be received by another.
It is the combined comprehension and resonation of the human experience.
Your story is a freedom song getting it up and out of you, putting words to it, making a face for it…bringing color to it. It takes bravery to offer pieces of yourself to others.
I have a story.
You have a story.
We all do.
Stories worth telling.
Treasured scripts of life.
Your story can be told in words written.
In words spoken.
Your story can be told in pictures.
Or in music and sound.
Your story can be expressed in rhythm.
And in dance.
Your story can be told in all ways of expression…in the ways that only you know how to tell it.
The sharing of our stories does something within, but the most beautiful part, the magical and mysterious practice of story-telling, is that it does something within others too. It is the “Yes, I feel that also…” affirmations. It is the “I am not alone in this…” acknowledgement. It is the spurring on of dreams and visions. It is the grounding of togetherness and solidarity of personhood, sisterhood and brotherhood. It is the mind sparking and daring and collecting of thoughts and instigation of change, forward, upward movement with depth that keeps us close to our roots…because we’ve gone deep first. It is the feeding of one mind to another, one experience to another, the dispelling of us and them and the creating of WE. It is the keeping and documenting of the past and the foretelling of the future.
I began telling my stories to the first open ear that would listen. Really listen. And I kept seeping little parts of myself outwards to show-and-tell.
My way of telling is through written word. I have been a writer by calling, by gifting, by form of expression from the moment I began to spell.
I remember bringing a fictional story to life in kindergarten with the help of an older student. Everything about the story telling process. The creation of characters and storyline from my mind. I adored the formation of a story from the words put into sentences to the narrations that coincided. Stories both fiction and non-fiction have everything to do with life portrayed through experience and imagination.
Some of the first listeners of my stories as a child were my sisters and my mom. The short stories I would write. The magazines I made up: “Strictly For Kids Club”, and the comics I created.
There were also the sacred places where I shared my stories, like a verbal diary – out loud into the air. Beneath the canopy or upon the branches of my favorite trees; it was in those shelters that I began telling my stories to Jesus, to the trees with the audience of the insects. Simply talking, simply conversing. Feeling the warmth and welcome Spirit and deep love of Christ. Feeling the safety.
Later I began telling my story to others. I slowly found the courage to share parts of me. As I began to share my life, I began to see that my stories mattered.
I began to grow and become a person that realized that my voice counts for something.
By telling my stories I began to gain confidence.
By telling my stories I began to see myself in a new form.
As someone that often defaulted to guarding myself in relationships; careful to keep people at arm’s reach and no closer. The act of telling my stories outside of myself and my safe places, it gave me a sense of vulnerability, yes… but it also gave me a sense of freedom. To dig deeper into relationships and by sharing my stories more often than not it then opens the doors for others to share their stories with me.
You are the keeper of your stories. Your part in this human journey is valuable, worthy and beautiful. Maybe your stories are shared in small circles around the table. On couches or around fire pits. Maybe your stories are shared in books or articles. Or spoken through a microphone. Maybe your stories are shared while fishing or taking road trips. The practice of passing down our stories through the telling of what was and what is and what is to come, is the verbal practice that has been handed down through all tribes and nations from generation to generation. May we be sacred keepers of the stories that come our way. Listeners that value words given to us:
Listening ears are quick to listen, slow to get angry.
Quick to listen, slow to judge.
Quick to listen, slow to speak.
– Jenny Rose Foster
** The painting shared with this article is part of my story told in picture. Yet, another form of story-telling and story-keeping. We are all in this together. May we see glimpses of this beauty.