It was a beautiful summer day and I was working as a camp counselor at one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. I was taking in every ounce of is the experience when I received a phone message that my sister had called. She was calling to let me know that Mom was sick and in the hospital again. Little did I know that in a matter of moments this would be such a freeing experience for me.
As I sat on the payphone, tears streaming down my face, several of my co-counselors walked by and wanted to know what was wrong. I couldn't muster up the words to share my story with them. I got off the phone and went back to my cabin. Within moments, the camp director came in and asked me what was wrong? In a moment, I finally opened up and shared my; our story with him. It was the first time I openly shared about my family's struggle with a mental illness. And since that moment, sharing my story has been very important to me and totally core to who I am!
It is so hard to share our stories, but there is something incredibly holy about sharing our stories with each other. In sharing our stories, we are connected with others who have had similar experiences. I am reminded of when I began my previous call. I was at dinner with my colleague sharing my story when another individual heard me share one word; a name of a pill that only those that have experienced mental illness would understand. In just moments, my story was connected with her story because we had similar experiences in the midst of our own stories. And here in the midst of the #write31days challenge, again I have been connected with others whose stories intersect with my story because we have had similar experiences too. (Here's looking at you my new friend. You know who you are!)
Story is incredibly important to who we are as people of God. God created us to share our stories. Yes, I realize that isn't always easy to do. In fact, most of the time it is darn right impossible, yet when we share our story, not only, are we blessed but I also think those that we share our stories with are blessed as well. Story opens our hearts and minds to know that we aren't on this journey alone and that there are others who hold us despite our own muddiness and brokenness in the midst of our stories. God has this incredible way of using our stories to bring healing, wholeness, and restoration to others in the world. Actress Iyanla Vanzant captures this so well when she said, “When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else”
So let’s be brave and share our stories!