Category Archives: Friends

The Story

I just read a post from Donald Miller (on whom I have a gigantic author crush), and he posted a preview video of new resources he’s putting out. In the video he is interviewing Phyllis Tickle, former religion editor at Publishers Weekly. She spoke about the importance of people being able to tell their story because it gives them an understanding of that story that they may not have had before.

I am learning that I have a gift for storytelling. I know that this gift was passed down to my from my father. My dad has always had these really wonderful stories from his growing-up days. I always picture my dad as Ralphie Parker from “A Christmas Story.” His stories of boyhood shenanigans are epic.

My parents came to visit us for Christmas and one night we had some dear friends over for supper. After the meal, the kids and my dad are sitting around the table. I have to get him started, “Dad, tell the kids about the time you and Uncle Jack got stuck on the top of the train that started moving…” And it begins… it’s as if it were yesterday. Dad recalls every detail. He weaves together a story, only slightly exaggerated, that keeps you wondering how he could have even survived his childhood. I’ve heard it a hundred times, but I love the excitement and joy that telling the story brings to his face.

And so he goes… story after story. I check to see if the kids are bored to death, when I hear my 8-year-old friend, Duncan say, “Do you have any more stories?”

My dad is elated. Of course he has more stories. It’s just who he is. My mom and I sit back as he goes deeply into another one about how he burned a hole the linoleum floor with a hot pan filled with popcorn and how he stealthily covered it with a rug (genius!).

We’ve decided that Dad will make videos for Elliot. He’ll tell E all the stories from Dad’s childhood and we’ll call them “Grampumentaries.” E can’t miss out on this stuff. My hope is that I will be able to recall simple events in my story and tell them in such a way that my children will be in awe. That they will know that life is good– even when you don’t have much. They will know that even when you make mistakes (like burn a hole in the floor) that your family still loves you.

I’m working on my story….

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Filed under Friends, Life

Thought of the Day

Why is it that there are people who feel the need to share strange and inappropriate bits of their lives with you?

I’m not talking about the friend who unloads a struggle or frustration to you. That’s good stuff. I love sharing life with friends, the good stuff and the sucky stuff. I’m talking about the random cashier at the grocery store that tells you about her boyfriend in prison, or the post office worker who wonders with you if she should get blond highlights in her hair or not.

I have been in several situations recently where complete strangers share strange bits of their lives with me. Usually I smile politely, feigning some shred of concern for their situation and then I walk away, wondering why people are so crazy.

But I keep thinking about it. WHY? Why are there so many people who just have inappropriate boundaries when it comes to sharing personal information?  Why are they so eager to unload their outlandish life events on total strangers?

I’ve started to change my thinking.

Could it be possible that these people are living in a world where they don’t have a single person to really listen to them? Could it be possible that they don’t have good friends to share life with? Are their souls so thirsty for authentic relationships that they will soak up any opportunity to interact¬† with anyone who will make eye contact?

I might be exaggerating, but I wonder. Are we increasingly surrounded by masses of lonely people? I sometimes find myself part of this mass. Surrounded by people, friends, community… and yet… surprisingly alone. Not really sharing the good (or sucky) stuff of life with anyone. Just skating along.

Fortunately there are people who dig into the mess and sometimes even sit in the mess with me. To them I say… thank you. Thanks for spending the time in the trenches and on the mountaintops with me– and everywhere in between.

I pray that I will have eyes to see the loneliness in the crowd and the courage to dig into the mess when I’m needed.

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Filed under Faith, Friends, Life