Collecting My Story

Everyone has a story. One of the things I love about people watching is to think about how all these people walking by me have a story. When I was young we took many road trips. I liked to hold the map and follow where we were going. More than once I touched a city on a map and I would wonder at all the people and all the stories beneath my finger tip.

Understanding that everyone has a story helps me honor the senior citizens I work with every day, even when they are crotchety. It helps me to remember to look the grocery check out lady in the eyes and be kind to the janitor. It also helps me not be intimidated when I interact with movers and shakers.

If everyone has a story, then I do too. My story will probably never be a best seller kind of story. That's what I tell myself right after I question "why write my story, anyway?" Then add "besides, who cares about my story?"

Well, for one, I should care about my story. When I know my story, I know myself better. It's strange to think, but sometimes we don't know our own stories. We've lived them, but we don't know them. One of my first assignments in counselling was to draw a little picture of every single memory I had. Ev-er-y-thing. Even the little things. Any memory. Get it down so that I could see it. It was one way that I got to know myself again. Because I had lost myself in the daily busyness of life. In doing things for others. In numbing my feelings. In Facebook. I needed to find myself again and it started by putting my memories down on paper.

Second, when I put my story out there, I found out that other people do care about my story. I'm an introvert and I don't like to hear myself talk. And I don't think people will want to hear what I have to say. But when I started writing parts of my story here on this blog, people actually thanked me for it. Like, they called me up on the phone and said "thanks for writing about that part of your story. I really identified with it." When I write down my story, people get to know me better and it creates points of connection. Not just connection between them and me, but between them and God (if I'm honoring Him with my story, which I aim to do. It's His story, really). God can use my story when I don't keep it to myself. He already has.

But my biggest motivator for collecting my story here on this blog is my family. A while ago my husband gave me a book/journal called "A Mother's Legacy." It had question prompts for a mother to write down her story for her children. I haven't written in it yet. I don't know why. Maybe because I can't delete what I wrote if I don't like the way it sounded. And since it's my legacy, I don't want it to be all scratched out with arrows pointing everywhere. (Although now that I think about it, that might be an accurate representation of my legacy.)

When my grandma died early in 2012, at her reviewal there was a book very similar to the one JD gave me. Grandma had taken the time to write answers to some of the questions. I was so glad she did. It was fun to see what she had to say. Even the mundane things were interesting, especially after she was gone. It was her story in her words.

I want to write for them the story of who I am and what I've experienced. My story is their story. It's their heritage and it will help them to know me better and why I am the way I am. As I was in counselling, discovering my emotions and my story, it was helpful to know some of my parents' stories. In writing out my story honestly, I want them to know: there's hope.

I think it's really important for me to pass on what I've learned to my kids. Maybe if I write what I've learned, they won't have to learn that particular lesson the hard way? Or maybe they will. As important as lessons learned are, I also think that my memories of mundane things are important, too. Memories of school, of growing up, of life before computers and cable TV. The "olden days." Details are important too. Dates and places. It's history.

As I thought about this blog, and what I want to accomplish with it, one of the overriding reasons I'm blogging is to collect my story as I recollect my stories one at a time. Post by post. So that eventually my story will be here. For them. For me. And, for you too if you're interested.


Tamera Beardsley said...

Hi Anne, I just wanted you to know i did leave a comment earlier today.... I came back to see if you replied... and it's gone. I just wanted to make sure you knew how much I loved this post!

Anne Bickle said...

Tamera, I did get your first comment, and I had replied to you, too. But in the mean time, I think I deleted all the comments that I had through a comment form that I had been using. I'm so bummed! If I remember right.... you said that you and I are blogging for many of the same reasons... finding our voices... I told you that one of the reasons I was drawn to you and your blog is because I saw myself in it... and you said that you were excited for this series that I am doing. That you enjoy reading the way I write my story, honestly... and that you will join me... and I said how much I was looking forward to hearing your story, I've been wanting to know more about it. And I appreciate so much that you enjoy my blog and my story. It means so much to me to know that. xo

Tamera Beardsley said...

You are so sweet!!! Yep, that's just what I said! I just wanted to make sure you knew how very much I love your story and your blog! We have had such different lives .... but are so similar in our quest. Did I ever mention to you that my son wants to be a pastor.... maybe not. Like I said, we have had very different lives, and his choice has had me reeling with shall I say.... surprise. When I read your words... you put such a human relatable face to his choice.... I don't think it was by chance I found you and your blog.... thank you for sharing your story. I am eager to learn more about you and your story!

Lucy said...

I too love thinking about people and their I have definitely thought about this...about others I might own;I'm afraid people would fal l asleep:) Keep shining you love you always bring a smile...:)

Anne Bickle said...

Lucy, thanks so much. I'm so glad to know I bring you a smile. :) I do hope you add your own story. You might surprise yourself. And I would love to know it!


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