January 27, 2013
“The stories about the people you met at Rehab are interesting,” a friend commented, “but I am waiting to hear what you have to share about your own experience.”
It was some time later before I realized that at the moment my friend made this comment I had heard what she said clearly enough, but I hadn’t understood at all what my friend meant to tell me. Actually, I had given her comment only casual passing attention until I began work on this week’s column.
THEN--pause. Long pause.
What is it with this story telling business?
What happens to me when I tell my story? And what happens to you when you read the stories I tell?
So far the stories are marked by a terrible simplicity. The first:
I went to the Rehab Center. I met a man who longed to go home, but who could not do so. He cried. I sat and listened to him cry.Stripped to its essentials, that’s not much of a story. The second is little better.
I went to the Rehab Center. I met a woman who had lost a leg, but who applauded when I was able to walk unassisted across the dining room.More stories may come (The Colonel and the Green Beans; Following Charley Brown, and others are on the drawing board). However, before these stories appear publicly, I want to ask something—actually, two things.
1) Do you learn something about yourself when you read the stories I share? If entertainment is the goal these stories are colossal failures.
2) What do you think I am telling you (however indirectly) about my experience and the change it brought in me? Why do I tell you? What relevance does my change have for you?
I want to try an experiment this week if you are willing to risk participating.
Reread the last two blogs (Life in the Activities Room, and Courage to Celebrate). Then send an email to email@example.com in which you think with me about these questions I have raised.
Thinking again how deeply I agree with John Donne: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.”
See you next week.