3 b : the intrigue or plot of a narrative or dramatic work
Some stories just stick with you. I recently read Wherever I Wind Up, a book by a baseball player from Nashville. It was a good book (aided by the fact that I used to be in bible study with the author's wife), but it was a great story. It wasn't so much the content of the story that made it great, but that he told his story, complete with traumatic events and poor choices on his part, without shame. I felt a lot of things as I read it - among them, envy.
Over the years, I've managed to tell part of my story to people. I've even managed to share some difficult parts aloud. But to do so without shame is still largely outside my grasp.
This weekend, I am driving my daughters to Wisconsin for a long weekend with their grandparents. While they visit family and soak up time together, I'll be on a personal retreat at a nearby center run by Dominican nuns. This will be my first retreat without a spiritual director with me. And I've pondered whether to use one of the spiritual directors available via the retreat center. But ultimately I feel I would be better served spending these days exploring my story - attempting to remember the things my subconscious has hidden away, the things I wish had never happened, the things that still make me flush with shame.
I think it's important to know and own my story because as much as I want it to not be so, my story is not just my story, but my children's and even those who know and love me, but are not a part of my family. Because our stories are interconnected.
This summer, Cheekwood has seven tree houses based on literature. One of my favorite houses is based on a short story that I haven't read (yet). But I will read it, because here is an excerpt:
“He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale.” -- Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1991
My story weaves in and out of those around it in ways I can not even begin to grasp. I can't control that or change that (and I'm not sure I would want to), but I can take one end of the string and slowly but surely work my way through the knots and twists and turns to know the rope of my story better, to accept it as my own, to try to see the beauty and the value in it. And to maybe even come to see that my story supports me and, joined together with other stories, helps me go places that I couldn't otherwise go.