“So, what’s your story?”
All of us tell stories about ourselves. When we want someone to know us, we share stories of our childhood, our family, our school years and our work experiences. Our stories have plot twists and turns, moments of heartache, some failures and faults, as well as high moments.
Today, we all have a new story to tell about ourselves.
Two years ago, this month, our life as we knew it was disrupted by the onset of a worldwide pandemic. Far from a short-term incident this historic event found its way into our life, weaving itself into our stories in ways large and small. Stories abound from our pandemic experiences.
- Stories of loss, grief, despair, distrust, disappointment, anger, loneliness and uncertainty.
- Stories of blessings and joys.
- Stories of challenges.
- Stories of opportunities.
- Stories of struggle.
- Stories of growth.
- Stories that yearn for connection, understanding, hope and healing.
Stories define us. To know someone well is to know their story – the experiences that have shaped them, the trials that have tested them and the lessons they have learned along the way.
Sharing our stories with others is not always easy. It means we have to take a risk. It requires us to be vulnerable, transparent and honest in hopes that we are not judged or put down by those who hear them.
Throughout the pandemic, I have shared stories with you about my own life experiences. From welcoming the birth of my first grandchild to facing the death of my husband 10 days later and my dad four months after, my pandemic story reveals the highest and the lowest times of my life. My life story over the past two years has been shared around the world through my blog and with thousands of people – most of whom I don’t know or have never met.
Despite the risks, sharing my personal stories with you is something I challenge myself to do with every blog I write. My hope is that my story is also your story. My stories may have different characters, settings, plots and endings than yours, but I trust that weaved within every story I tell there is something we share in common or that you will be able to relate to. Perhaps it’s the challenges we faced, the emotions we felt or the lessons we both learned. Our collective stories have a way of connecting us no matter the miles between us or whether we have ever communicated with one another or met in-person.
The benefits of sharing our stories with others far outweighs the risks of doing it. When we share our stories, we invite others into our lives. Telling our story might be exactly what someone else needs to hear. We can find meaning, healing and hope in our own story when another’s story sounds similar to ours. We learn we are not alone. Understanding each other’s stories helps us see how we can offer encouragement, care and support to one another. Connections deepen among us when we share our stories with each other.
“So, what’s your story?”
Take a moment and reflect:
- What has been the #1 thing that stood out to you over the pandemic?
- What happened?
- What did it feel like?
- What did you find yourself thinking about or what do you think about now?
- Who or whom has all been affected by this significant event and how?
- Who have you leaned on in the past couple of years?
- What do you feel called to do after having gone through the last few years?
Think about how you can share your story with others. There is no one way to tell your story. There are many ways, whether it be through art, music, poetry, video, blogging or a one-on-one conversation with someone. Tell your story in a way that is most comfortable to you. Just tell your story.
Be reassured that no matter how your pandemic story reads, sounds or feels, your story is also someone else’s story. You are not alone. May this reassurance bring you hope, healing, peace and strength as your life story continues to unfold and be told.
P.S. After you have had the opportunity to reflect on your pandemic story and share it, challenge the kids and parents you work with to do the same. The pandemic impacted all ages – from the youngest to the oldest. Ask them, “What’s your story?” Challenge them to reflect on and share their story with one another. They deserve to experience the encouragement, support, empathy, hope, healing and connections that will come from sharing their story. It might be just what they need to continue living out their life story.