Early in my 31 day series, The Lemonade Stories, I wrote about storytelling and how we cannot revise and edit the stories of others. I wholeheartedly believe that, and I also believe each of us can and must own our own stories and change the way we want them to end. Afterall, life is too short to be stuck in the blank space of pause or crumpled pages. When the story is all your own, you get to live into it and make changes wherever and however you need to.
When you hold the pen or keyboard, the story is yours to own and tell. I’m thinking about this idea as of late. It means I get to edit, revise, and share the story because it is mine. I don’t mean I’ll give someone else a sanitized version of my truth. I mean, I get to say my story as I wish because it is not borrow, quoted, paraphrased, or reenacted. It is all mine – my life, my experience, and my way of being. How others respond should have no bearing on me being able to tell my story. It’s the same for you, so why tell you all this now?
Our society has a strange fascination with reframing stories it has no right or privilege to. I think of the how the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, resigned his position. It seemed people in the news, media, and all around made up stories coming from others who thought they owned the editing to rights to Mr. Boehner’s story. They came of with all sorts of reasons as to why he resigned when he did. They told tales of forcing his choice, which is to force how he lives (his)tory. There were myriad misrepresentations of what it meant for him to be all him. Some of the stories were mean, damaging, and down right nasty. To think that someone living outside of another person’s soul gets to dictate that soul’s story is ludicrous.
You are not in charge of another person’s life story and neither am I. You are in charge of you, and I am in charge of me. Let’s just stop this insanity of thought that tries to manipulate and control others. Stop it!
Perhaps there is a stream of nuance running beneath the layers of our lives that outside eyes cannot perceive. Maybe we do what we need to do because we have to, and it goes beyond the preconceived notions and concocted ideas of the world’s would-have-should-have-could-have. That’s totally okay. Perhaps we only think we’ve won when we see our adversary crumble under the pressure. What if we missed the point altogether? What if we completely misconstrued the plot and misread the ending? What if there had been an opportunity for redemption, but we got in the way and birthed destruction?
I don’t know about you, but the questions are worth asking. They prick my heart. They make me ponder my humanity, my Christianity, my empathy, and my ability (or lack thereof) to work through the discomfort of being exposed to the messiness of another soul’s story. Can we just be gracious and give one another room and space to get messy so we can get whole?
When you hold the pen and the ink is your soul, I have no right to thrust myself, my religion, my political agenda, or any other viewpoint on the preciousness of your story – the reflection of your sacred soul or the whys of your beliefs and values. The story of you is yours alone to tell, to create, to recreate, or reinvent. So, I will step aside, lay down my defenses, and open my heart to listen and hear.When you hold the pen and the ink is your soul, I have no right to thrust myself, my religion, or my political agenda on your story. #write31days Click To Tweet
Settle it in your heart now to own the height, depth, breadth, and width of your story. Do not be afraid to read the lines of glory and woe, of sorrow and joy, or brokenness and hope. Be undaunted when it comes to owning all the parts of your story, even the broken pieces. And when you see someone attempting to re-appropriate the soul of you, steady yourself. Speak up. Remind us who we are, and remember the pen is always in your own. You own the words and punctuation marks. Do not be frightened by our inability to cope with the wholeness and freedom of who you are.
There is something beautifully healing and redemptive when we recognize the hope living in the among the letters and punctuated markings of our soul. And when the story threatens to become a mess, do not be afraid to show whole yourself to us (those you trust in your community of family and friends). We’ll be right here. Pens down, erasers put away, and with our arms and hears open to hold space for all that is you.
This post is a part of my 31 Days of Writing challenge. It’s also the middle of the lemonade stories. There are far more stories to tell and moments of when to live through. It’s all about taking the sour things of life and reframing them to find the sweetness of faith, hope, and resilience. I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey. You’ll also find me sharing bits and pieces on my Twitter and IG accounts. I’d love to see you here, and you can also subscribe to my blog/newsletter here.