What’s your story?
That’s how a boy I knew in junior high started all his conversations.
He didn’t say Hello. Just, What’s your story?
I think that’s a good way to start. Because how do we ever really get to know anyone except by learning their stories?
And we’ve all got ‘em, right? You and me and the guy who delivers our packages and the gal who delivers our babies and the men and women in various places and times who delivered good news and bad news and Commandments and inaugural addresses. All these stories cluttering the history of the world.
Yours starring you.
Mine starring me.
The daughter, sister, girl scout, flute-playing band buddy, loyal friend, ballroom dancer, cheerleader, homecoming princess, stage performer, songwriter, wife, mom, grandma me.
But also starring the pregnant teen, abortion clinic client, ex-wife, healthiest woman in the IV room, mother of five-children-with-collectively-more-than-five-last-names me.
Some of those stories I wouldn’t jump right into were you to greet me with a What’s your story?
You’d have to know me more than a minute before I’d give you those. Some, you’ll never know. Some, if it were up to me, would not have been written at all.
I imagine your stories are like mine. Some are clear. Easy to share. Happy. Some, more complex, mysterious, shameful, tender. Some, you like. Some… not so much.
I believe stories–reading, writing, seeing, telling and understanding stories—can make us braver, kinder, wiser, and more authentic in living our own stories.
So, that’s the kinds of stories I write. Little stories about ordinary people who want to live extraordinary lives without taking extraordinary risks. People struggling to dance through marriage with grace. People offering little prayers too big to believe. People suffering loss and receiving grace. People daring big hope in a small, broken world.
I write these little stories, and I remember we’re all little people. And however interesting or delightful or ugly or tragic some of our stories may be—and even though they are never the whole true story—they still matter.
They matter because they point to the One Story. Perfectly complete. Wholly true. Entirely good. Just like the One the Story is all about.