I had several ideas for this post. Intriguing, amusing, thoughtful ideas, all jostling for space and attention in my head, slyly shoving each other while smiling broadly at the camera, vying to be chosen as the post winner. I spent last week drafting the piece, mental wheels spinning as I slalomed the forklift through my family’s warehouse, picking phrases and words off my vocabulary stores as I dispatched orders, cheerfully singing in the rain when I felt the post coming together in a solid, attractive first draft.
Then, in a huge explosion of emotional glitter and figurative fireworks, I became engaged.
I cannot – for the life of me – remember any of my post ideas. Not one.
Dinner has been late every night. I’ve put product labels on backwards, upside down, and even on the wrong item. I meant to have this post up hours ago, but… well… haven’t.
I’m not myself. Thankfully, not one person has had a problem with my fuzzy, errant actions or lack of concentration. Because, it turns out, everyone loves a love story. Continue reading
Religious persecution is not a cross I have to bear. Although at times I feel like a stranger in a foreign land when it comes to the beliefs and convictions that separate me from the general populous, I have only to glance backward at history to know that I have been born in an age when I ought to feel gratitude with every waking breath for those who have fought this battle before me.
I brought my two primary-age daughters to an activity at the temple this weekend. They were asked to bring a story of an ancestor to share. We tossed a few ideas around and decided en route to call Mimi—the family’s history enthusiast. Thank goodness for cell phones! And for living in an area rich with history vital to who we are; oral tradition is alive and well. She vivaciously told us the story* of 11-year-old Patience; niece to the well-known Anne Hutchinson, friend and peer to Roger Williams and our great-grandmother, several generations removed.
Patience’s older sister Mary was engaged to be married to a young man named Christopher Holder, who, as a defender of religious freedom was expelled from Boston for being “a common opposer of all authority.” When he came to Boston again in 1657, he and two other young men had their right ears cut off in prison for not listening.
My modern-day church leaders often counsel me with words of wisdom that I have been guilty of not listening to… [and I continue to treat myself to jumbo bags of m&m’s and redbox movies].
Christopher’s future mother-in-law (Patience’s mother) Katherine Scott traveled to Boston to encourage him in his suffering. For her kindness she was publicly whipped with “ten cruel stripes with a threefold corded knotted whip” and thrown into prison. Continue reading
My mom, Priscilla, was a highly sought-after commodity in the prime of her single years. It was 1959. She had a nice Italian boyfriend who wanted to marry her. Her father strongly disapproved. Her high school sweetheart was an enlisted man, with no college education. He would ask for her hand regularly; every leave provided an opportunity to get down on one knee. Her Aunt was convinced that a man in the navy wasn’t good enough for a Simmons girl, and wrote my mother letters offering bribe money so that she would not marry beneath herself. There was a third suitor, engaged to be married to someone else, who showed up on her doorstep about this time, and begged her to marry him; he’d gladly leave his fiancée if she would but consent.
I know there were more. Priscilla’s mother passed away during her senior year in High School. It was a stressful time in her young life. So stressful, in fact, that she cut bait and reeled it in. She changed her name to Kim and moved to Connecticut to waitress for a summer. Continue reading
One there was a…
And one day …
And because of this…
And she realized…
And she decided…
And ever since then…
A few months ago at a professional conference (for Child Llife Specialists) one session was about therapeutic uses of transformation narratives. Pairing “journey” stories with children to help mirror the life-changing events related to medical conditions, hospitalization, and loss.
While the potential for that population is powerful, the implications for each of us is what struck me deeply. The universality of the story prompt is amazing in it’s simplicity and complexity. It is the heart of stories across cultures and time. Encountering things and coming out the other side somehow changed and different. When I came home from the conference, I read the NY Times article This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It).
For months, these ideas hung and percolated in my mind.
A few months later, I sat on a cross country flight, the words of StoryCorps and Moth podcasts drowning out the noisy plane. I was again moved by the power of story, the stories embedded in everyday life. I wondered, have I had amazing transformative events? What are my stories?