I've been thinking a lot lately about telling my life story to my family—my sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Because I'm a writer, I'd love to write it out. I'm not sure exactly when this will happen as my plate seems full enough at present. But it's on my wish list of things I'd like to do. It's not because my life has been so extraordinary but more that I realize they know only a tiny part of me. And it's their history and legacy, too.
And so I've been thinking about the difference in how we tell our life stories. That brings to mind Dawna Markova's book I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion. In it she speaks of two ways we tell our stories: We can tell them as "river stories" or as "rut stories."
As you might imagine, rut stories numb us. Picture yourself stuck in a rut, believing that what you've always been and done is exactly what you'll always be and do—leaving no room for change or transformation.
Then there are river stories, which are energizing and carry us forward toward possibility just like a river flowing onward regardless of obstacles in its way.
It's really a matter of focus, isn't it? We can focus on life's pain and problems, making that the centerpiece of our story. Or we can focus on possibilities and promise, looking at all the gifts and blessings in our life. This doesn't mean we deny or ignore the pain and problems. It means we look beyond them to notice life's blessings—which means we more readily notice those that have been there all along.
How will you tell your story?