Posé: A pause or rest stop along the Voyageurs' portage trail. Usually about ½ mile apart. We invite you to take a pause in your day to reflect, ponder, and pray with us.
I have always loved stories. One of the ways my dad and I connected in my middle school years was through going to movies together and talking about the stories and characters. As an adult, I have embraced the identity that "story" is a big part of my life. Only then did I stop to think about my family heritage around story telling. My grandma was a traveling story teller who told farm and Norwegian folk stories to church and community groups all over the midwest. My dad is a story teller. And more recently, he has started working with others on telling their stories. I started paying attention to the author Donald Miller when he talked about how each person has amazing stories. Sometimes they just don't realize it yet. As I studied educational equity and leadership I learned about "hidden narratives" and the effort to create spaces where people who haven't had a chance to tell their story get the opportunity to reflect, craft, and document their own story.
When people ask you to tell about yourself when you are in a new group where do you start? How do you introduce yourself- do your first identify yourself with an occupation, vocation, family identity? "I am a nurse, and I have two kids." or "I volunteer at our church, and I have a big family." While these are often roles, which provide much identity to ourselves and those around us, they leave no opportunity to share our lives. Think about the following. "When was the last time you laughed, who were you with, and what were you doing?" "When you have a lot of your busy plate, what do you do/eat/read/etc. to relax? Where would you go to relax if you had an hour for yourself?" "What is one thing you learned in your family of origin that regularly comes up in your family or circle of influence now?"
In our family, we have a brief story time each night. It's something we have done since our kids were little to make eating together easier and intentional. We sit down at the table together, and one by one each person shares the "Best part of their Day." It's one of my favorite times in our family. As others occasionally join our family dinners, they are expected to join the dialogue, and each time I always learn something new. Through the best part of their day, I hear many things I wouldn't hear through the usual identity statements like, "I am a nurse, and I have two kids." Through this daily practice, I can tell my kids' friends, favorite parts of the school day, and the things that drive them crazy and make them laugh.
In the upcoming YourStory retreats, we will do two main things. We will learn about some of the lesser known stories of some well know Bible characters. In the November retreat, we will learn about Jacob's life beyond the "big" stories. How did Jacob's family of origin shape his relationships with his wives and children? What is unique about Jacob's birth? Why does the Bible take time to tell us this? Then, we will have time to reflect on, craft, and record some of our stories. In upcoming sessions, we will explore, how do we go about trying to change our stories? You have a story that only you can tell. This week, ask someone, "What was the best part of your day?" And then, listen. You may be surprised by what you hear.
VLM Board Member