Who Is Telling Your Story?

“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.”

John Grisham

My father is staying with us this week because my grandfather is in the hospital nearby.

Dad’s been spending long days tending to Grandpa at the hospital so that he won’t be alone.

The time he’s been here has taught me a number of lessons, and I’ve been taking notes in my journal of what I’ve learned.

Care more about the future. Make a plan. Start saving more money for retirement and long term care.

Be grateful. Life is short. Time flies. Enjoy the days more.

Stop being negative. Stop pitying yourself. Stop being so critical and depressed. You sound just like your father.

I sound just like my father.

It’s amazing what a child picks up in the short time he spends at home.

I’m sure some of what we learn isn’t really learned at all; it’s simply the genetic code we’ve been given at birth.

But I think more of what we learn is really learned. We watch our parents and can’t help but to imitate them.

My fear of money; it’s always existed, it seemed. There has only been one time in my life that I’ve truly not had food to eat or clothes to wear, but even then, I managed. And there has been plenty of abundance, and yet, I’m constantly anxious about money, how much we have and how much we don’t have.

My critical spirit, not just of others, but also of myself. I think I’m the worst of everyone and do the worst of everything, and so, oftentimes, I won’t even try to do the best I can because, what’s the point?

My need to be right. I will find a way to prove myself right time and time again. Like a nagging voice, shouting to be heard, I want to be right! If I’m not right, I feel worthless.

My desire to control and my deep fear of control. I not only want to know every moment of the future, but I’m also terrified of it and escape as much as possible to avoid it.

All of these parts of my personality come directly from my parents, including my substance use disorders.

How do you change what’s so deeply embedded within you?

Well, some people never will. Some people never become aware enough about what’s happening within them to make a conscious effort to change.

Which is why I thank God for the last two years.

After a rough season in my early thirties, I really settled into my late thirties, and was getting by fine, but growing- dare I say- restless.

I wasn’t working outside of the home, other than a part-time job in freelance writing.

I decided I wanted to go back to work. That thinking, me and my wants, were what had dictated so many moves I’d made in life, long before the decisions I made two years ago.

What I chose to do, going back to work, was a mistake that had been given a clear no by God. He’d all but shouted; I hadn’t listened.

And though He’s blessed me anyway because that’s how He works–He’s a blesser, not a punisher–I know for sure I didn’t make the right decision and haven’t been making the right decisions for quite some time.

The hardest pill to swallow is understanding that human time is linear and there is no going back to fix what’s been broken.

My voice broke some time ago, way back in my past, and instead of trying desperately to get it back, to speak again, I’ve jumped from person to person, place to place, position to position, trying to go and be and do.

I can’t tell you the years I’ve wasted, if such a thing were possible, wasting years. I tend to think God can and will use anything, especially sin.

The last two years have ended up teaching me so much. I’ve dealt with the realization of my age, a friend’s betrayal, job loss, deconversion from the only beliefs I’ve ever known, suicide, death, illness, my children leaving home for college, my first dog dying.

You name it, and over the last two years, I’ve probably lived it.

But I’m learning to find my voice. And I’m learning to speak up with confidence.

I’m rediscovering my value, and that I’m worth the price someone paid to set me free, an ultimate price that came at a cost of uncloaking divinity to take on my flesh.

On Sundays, I reflect.

I’ll take a drive through the backroads of our town, sit on my deck and watch the hummingbirds, think about life near the calm waters of the lake at our town park.

I especially love to reflect on trips to the beach. I sit at the shore and feel the waves crash against my feet. I walk along the edge of the water, stopping every so often to pick up shells.

And though I think it was metaphorical, the whole beach and shell thing, it’s exactly what I plan to do.

I’ll find the roaring voice inside me, the one that sounds like the gushing waves of the ocean.

I’ll search for all the little shells of wisdom, different in shape, size and color, and I’ll stick them in my pocket. My fingers will study them, the smooth top, the rough edges.

I won’t be afraid to show them to the world.

See you soon,


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