My Story, Story Bracelet, Marcia Carole
There are many ways to share our stories. Most often, we use words. However, words can be the most frightening way to reveal what we have done, what has happened to us, and where we have wandered off to in our stories. You put words out, and you feel naked. Why? Lots of reasons, I’m sure. Maybe one is; many people may not know how to listen compassionately and without judgement as we share our stories.
Making art is a more right brain activity. Telling our stories with art can help stories to come out more easily; words may often get stuck in our throat and we stop sharing. We don’t have to use words as we pick a color or pattern or shape to represent part of our story. Recently, I have thought, rather than the story rope, why not try to tell our stories using colored beads with a variety of shapes and even patterns?
(As a side note here, often when women are making their story ropes, they laugh and even tear up or cry while putting the ropes together. They are remembering their stories and revealing them through the art, very powerfully. Yet, they are not using words. And they feel safe telling their stories this way because they may not use words to reveal it all, but it is “being told.”)
Let’s revisit why we don’t share our stories easily. I think it is hard to find good listeners who don’t want to fix us, or tell us to buck up, or they just don’t want to hear because they struggle with their own stories. We have some shame for parts of our stories. Some listeners will actually use our stories against us. I’ve had this happen. They aren’t safe to tell our stories. Once, a person who knew part of my story and was struggling with his own story said to me, “You lost your mother when you were four, and that’s why you are the mess you are.”
I contrast that with how Jesus handled the story of the woman he met at a drinking spot, a place to draw fresh water. He knew she had had five husbands and was currently living with a sixth man. She was an outcast in her community. Talk about shame you could cut with a knife. Yet, she was happy He knew her story because of the way He handled it. In fact, she ran with joy to her whole community to tell them about Jesus.
Jesus is safe. He knows our stories, loves us in the midst of them, helps us face them and tell them, and He brings worth, value, forgiveness, healing and new life into them – down to the soul level.
“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” John 4:29