Saturday, June 16, 2012

other peoples' stories

i often struggle with blogging because i am tired of telling my story.  my story feels like it is a circle and keeps repeating itself lately...and it feels whiny and sad and depressing and not like something i want to keep telling.  only, i'm living it, see?  so i just don't tell any stories.

but i've been reading anne lamott.  and when i read anne, the one thing i always come away with, every single time, is that they're all our stories.  even the ones we think are crazy and totally unrelated.  like the cannibal guy in florida, high on bath salts, eating a homeless guy's face off.  when i finally googled that story to read it, it made me cry.  they're all our stories.  even my sisters-in-law...who haven't spoken in months...whose anger at each other has affected all of our relationships...when their mother was admitted to the hospital today, they both greeted her with the same exact words.  i'm telling you, like it or not, they're all our stories.

and being a part of a community reminds us of that.  i haven't had  a lot of community lately.  i've had some mamas i've seen, some i've talked to, the ones i feel closest to i'm on an online parenting board with.  but i haven't FELT the community a lot.  it's hard when the group you feel the closest to is scattered all over the country, in different time zones, all working damned hard at being good moms, good wives, good women. 

but i have been listening to a number of different stories lately.  mamas breastfeeding, mamas recovering from illness, mamas climbing walls taller than they ever thought they could, mamas in relationships, mamas dealing with their children's illnesses, mamas struggling with money, with children growing up and making mistakes...  my own oldest son was trapped in a bathroom in wet clothes, his friend showering, and girls in the room.  i will pray he found a way out of that situation that preserved the dignity of those involved, that mirrored the spirit of the God they were making the trip in...and i write that knowing that the Holy spirit moves each of us in very diverse ways...and i accept that...and i pray i can find the grace when i hear the story.  there's a mama laboring right now, too.  i'm sure there are many laboring to give birth right now...but the one who's laboring with my husband watching over her, sleeping at the hospital waiting for her birth...she's the one who reminds me to pray for laboring mamas and their stories tonight.

so, now that my beautiful, beautiful children are asleep, i'm alone.  and i remembered this story.  it's a story of a man who works at the rock climbing gym my children climb at.  he told me this story the day i told him the story of my oldest's struggles with his ex-girlfriend, his school, and a speech and debate tournament he'd attended.  this man cares a lot about kids.  but he has a special place for those that are making the crossing from childhood into adulthood...and i've learned from him that this crossing can span years...can occur at different stages for different people...and often comes later than we think it does.  he watches over these crosslings...mentors them...prays for them counsel and job and money and sometimes a place to sleep (in the rock gym, as a matter of fact).  he always sees the promise that they carry.  doesn't judge where they are at (although i believe he is a rather traditional christian in his theology).  and after hearing this story, i guess i understand better...and appreciate the light he shared.

he grew up in a very religious family.  (he is still pretty religious, for a guy who hangs out with rock climbers.)  he credits his family with the foundation they provided him for right and wrong.  but when he went to college, like so many of us experiencing that degree of freedom for the first time, he found a whole new world.  he learned he could be pretty cool.  and at one party, as he was walking in with boxes of beer and booze, he saw a girl making out with a guy on a couch.  and he knew he wanted to be with that girl.  so he waited til she was finished making out with the other guy.  and by morning, they were together.  and it turned out that she'd had a pretty religious upbringing as well.  and together, through their college years, they formed a relationship and then got married.  and together, they also found their way back to a path that was natural to them...a path that got them out of alcohol (he may have developed a bit of a problem) and loose relationships.  they now have two beautiful kids and a family that they feel at home in, that they grow together in, and that they are able to minister to others in.

the best part of his telling of the story was after he finished the details, and then reminded me that they would never have met if they had not strayed from what they knew was right.  if they had not made pretty terrible choices (i mean, no one died...but seriously, who wishes for their children to be alcoholics or having tons of sex?).  and so he doesn't question where people go, because he believes they'll all get where they're meant to be.

and that is gold.

i will hold on to it.  because this is my story, too.  and the story of almost everyone i can think of.  (and i only say almost because i am a stickler for facts and assume i can't remember everyone right now...but i'm pretty sure it's almost everyone i know...)

this story grabs me tonight because i realize that i fight so hard going to those dark places.  they are there.  i am ashamed when i visit them, but i'm kind of the kid in the room of bad things, doing a few of the bad things, but i have my eyes closed, pretending i'm somewhere else.  i'm always compelled to go to the bad places, but i have such a hard time enjoying them.  or even really acknowledging i'm there.

so i'm going to work on that.  i'm going to work on being aware of where i am, WHEREVER i am.  even when i'm somewhere i don't want to be.  because it is hard to confront bad choices when i'm not even really aware of them fully.  and i'm so tired of trying to be someone i'm not.  even though i know it is good to aspire to be someone good.  i am good.  even when i'm not.  because i know where i want to be.  and beating myself up on the way, or looking the other way when i feel like i'm less, is not helping my progress.


1 comment:

JO said...

> and so he doesn't question where people go, because he believes they'll all get where they're meant to be.

Will you please remind me of this often? Lots of wisdom there.