Sunday, November 6, 2011

Write it Down: What's Your Story?

Keep in mind that the person to write for is yourself. Tell the story that you most desperately want to read.
Susan Isaacs

It started out with Helen Keller, and then it was Lesley Stahl, and sometime later I tripped upon Chelsea Handler.
Each of these women have either autobiographies or biographies about their lives and their purpose. What’s your story? 
I’ve always enjoyed writing; finding and telling a good story. My Dad used to write down my thoughts on the day, or what I would tell him happened. We affectionately called them the “red books,” because they were in fact red daily diary books. They chronicle my early childhood from the perspective of my father, and occasionally as I told him. 
Throughout my life people have told me to “write it down.” Often, I wondered what they wanted me to write down. 
“You should write a novel, it would help people,” one person told me earlier this year.
“You should write a letter, then burn it, or tear it up,” said another not so long ago.
When I write fiction, I read the story back and it almost always reads like my on life. There’s no fiction in the stories I write. The names change and some of the circumstances are different, but I know who the characters are. I know where they’ve been, and I know where they’re going.
At some point that concept became incredibly frightening. 
On this journey to “something fabulous” I’ve found myself sitting right smack down in the middle of my faith. It’s something I haven’t done this earnestly and honestly since high school. Suddenly, I realized one reason why I cannot finish writing “someone else’s story” is because there’s someone else who will. 
As Christian, and in high school, I leaned up against Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV). The Bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
For the first time in my life, I actually get it! I can’t write something down to make it true, or to make someone or some circumstance come to life. I can, however, write down whether in the form of a letter, this blog, a poem, or a novel, what I’m thankful for, the lessons I’ve learned, the friendships I’m grateful for, and where I hope I’m going. I can write down what hurts and who I need to forgive -- and no one has to see that! I can also write down the incredible fear in trusting that it will all work out. Whatever “it” is.
Religious or not, if you have faith in what you cannot see, it will work out. Know this: It will work out, even if it’s not as you expected, hoped, or so long desired it would. It’s better this way. 
What’s your story? Are you going to write it down?

UPDATED: 11/8/2011

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