Friday, September 7, 2012

The Power of Stories: Part I

It's the eve of my fifth anniversary. This Friday, September 7 is so very different than that one in 2007 I remember so fondly. The one where I was surrounded by family and friends, wrapping up wedding details and celebrating another milestone - my Aunt Pam's 50th birthday. Above all, I was looking forward to committing the rest of my life to a man who had so unexpectedly come into my life three years prior and for whom I was so utterly and completely head over heels for.

Five years isn't such an extraordinarly long time in the grand scheme of life, but it is a major milestone. We have endured nearly every aspect of our vows with grace, thanksgiving, and sometimes a lot of self-sacrifice. In this new season of our marriage I can reflect on the day we took our vows with such promise, and a healthy dose of naivete, and recognize a pledge taken in faith sometimes means you're agreeing to stay true through things you couldn't ever have imagined. I think if someone had told me that then instead of a month ago I may have run in the other direction. It is probably for the best we can't see every trial our relationship will face "til death do {us} part."

I am becoming the family storyteller. The keeper of the stories of our family's trials and triumphs. Some of the stories are hard to hear and some are inspiring or just plain silly. I believe it is so important to pass those stories on, even the ugly ones, so the next generation knows they are not alone and others have gone before them and come through stronger. Those are the stories I so desperately need to hear while I am writing this difficult part of my own story. 

There is power and freedom in being an active participant in your story. Sometimes things happen that you would rather not share, but most times those things you don't want to share end up having power over you. When you tell your story you take control of it. The stories of better times hold us together when we're going through the muck and remind us where we've come from and when we reach the other side of it we can point to that time and say, "We did that, we made it."

It's our stories that can bind us or tear us apart. They are also the legacy we leave for the next generation. It doesn't do any good to keep them locked up.

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