Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Story

Eight or nine years ago I read Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Remen, a book that propelled me along my path as much as or more than anything I'd read before or since. For some reason, perhaps because a dear friend is much in need of healing right now, Rachel's book has been on my mind a lot lately. This afternoon I picked up a copy again, having long since given the original away.

It is as wise and wonderful as I remembered. Listen to what Rachel says about our stories:

Hidden in all stories is the One story. The more we listen, the clearer that Story becomes. Our true identity, who we are, why we are here, what sustains us, is in this story. The stories at every kitchen table are about the same things, stories of owning, having and losing, stories of sex, of power, of pain, of wounding, of courage, hope, and healing, of loneliness and the end of loneliness. Stories about God.

In telling them, we are telling each other the human story. Stories that touch us in this place of common humanness awaken us and weave us together as a family once again.

Sometimes when I ask people to tell me their story they tell me about their achievements, what they have acquired or built over a lifetime. So many of us do not know our own story. A story about who we are, not what we have done. About what we have faced to build what we have built, what we have drawn upon and risked to do it, what we have felt, thought, feared, and discovered through the events of our lives. The real story that belongs to us alone.

Those are some powerful words, my friends, and they call me to new understandings. I'm one who all too often mistakes what I've done for who I am. My dear friend, Bryan, sometimes says that my story is that of the search for love and the prices I've paid for it. He could be right. Like every other human, I want to be heard, to be known, to be accepted. Like many others, I've traded the shining beads of my self for the blankets of getting my needs met. I've faced some fearful things with amazing courage and hidden like a child from others not nearly so dangerous. I've felt fleeting moments of genuine peace and endured long stretches when I imagined myself alone.

Tonight as I write, my only clue about my true identity is that I'm a child of God; why I've chosen this path and this life is Mystery.

The front of a card Bryan sent me recently shows a colorful person/creature precariously balanced on a fulcrum, driving a nail into the end of the main arm. The text reads: Is willing to accept that she creates her own reality

except for some of the parts where she can't help but wonder what the hell she was thinking.

Pretty much sums 'er up.


Amber said...

Oh, Jerri. You are speaking to me today. Super post!

I have been thinking about my grandma, and her true story. And how her story has made my story...About how she could never, ever really own or look at her story, you know? And now, at the end of her life, she is going out so, so sad...So broken and scared. And to people on the outside, she woudl seem to have had such a good life! She really did have a good life! But the parts of her story that she could never deal with, make her unable to embrace the happiness and peace she should have now in the end.
It just breaks my heart...


magicaldamselfly said...

Amazing post and of course now I must trot over to Barnes and Noble this morning and purchase a copy of this book. I have been trying to own my own story for years and trying to understand my journey perhaps this book will give me a whole new outlook on my story, we will see.
At this point in my life I am struggling to grow beyond being a door mat. Thank you for this post.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I try to distinguish between what I have done/do and who I am all the time. Nice when they come together!

Michelle O'Neil said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE Rachel Naomi Remen.

She is so wise and so are you.

Terri /Tinker said...

I'm getting caught up on your posts and this one and the one just previous are hitting home with me big time...Powerful posts, Jerri; I'm going off to ponder my life story more in-depth now. Thanks.