I spent this weekend with family, and the sheer amount of laughter must have cleared out my lungs for a year. We sat around a lodge, in libraries, outside, and in our rooms, telling story after story.
Being in the presence of my husband’s brothers and spouses was like finding a nugget of gold wrapped in a comfortable blanket. We spent our time passing around photos and memories, and we handled each one as if it were a diamond, sparkling with characters and content.
We should treat stories with the greatest of care . . .
We manhandle people’s stories at times, tossing them carelessly out of our mind’s window. But stories matter to the teller and bond us to each other, and we should listen to them with enthusiasm and curiosity, for it is in stories that power is shared and found.
The beauty of stories is that we can create them wherever we are, no matter what the circumstances. . .
I remember being in a research hospital at the age of nine, observing the other girls who were in my ward. There were twelve beds, and in each was another child with a serious condition.
The day came when my parents had to return home to my brother and sister, and I was left to endure a regimen of tests as doctors attempted to determine what was making my liver swell twice its normal size.
I don’t recall the tests or the doctors. I do remember Belinda, the young girl across from me who was learning how to walk again minus the support of her family since they could not afford to travel. The night that I fell out of my bed trying to go to the bathroom because I couldn’t wait for the nurse — patience is a virtue lost on me — and my tiny comrade, who was in constant pain, sat up in bed and asked if I was okay.
I remember the night I asked the nurses for a sleeping pill, and the alarmed look on their faces as they tried to figure out how a nine year-old knew about sleeping pills. Good question. A nurse woke me up to give me the pill an hour later, which I found absurd, even at the age of nine.
Every single one of those moments became etched in my brain, creating a story that I can revisit, learn from, laugh with, and treasure. Every relationship I formed in that hospital became a small turn in my heart’s journey, a way to learn about the power of the human spirit.
So, the next time you think your situation is too much to bear . . .
Pay attention, because every single moment is a story being written, and you are the daily editor and historian.
As you recall your stories, I hope you observe your power and resilience. Because life isn’t a Disney movie or a romance novel, and sometimes our stories are told in the dark, whispered, with a flashlight under our chin.
And if you think you can’t get through a certain chapter because it is just too dark, I recommend what the vocal artist Jason Mraz recommends in “3 Things” –
The third thing that I do now when my world caves in,
Is I pause, I take a breath, and bow and I let that chapter end.
I design my future bright not by where my life been.
And I try, try, try, try, try again.[If you want to see the entire lyrics, be sure to subscribe to my Power Messages!]
Don’t forget the characters in your stories . . .
I’d like to thank my husband’s family for a weekend of incredible stories, lung-clearing laughter, and the love that enveloped the experience and infused us all with a little more power.