Changing the story and rising strong!
Last night, while having a drink at the beach bar and watching the sunset, I met a woman doing the same. Her name was Carol. She had beautiful blonde wavy hair and looked completely put together in her white spring sleeveless dress. I thought to myself, “Wow, this woman must have THE life!”. I glanced down at the ten-year-old t-shirt I was wearing, 3/4 length sleeves as to not show my arms. We started chatting about the beautiful view and the perfect seats we were able to snatch up. Sometimes you meet people and you immediately feel the connection, and that was the case with Carol. Within minutes we were talking about our life, our struggles and our joys. She showed me photos of her two beautiful grandchildren and I told her about James and before long she had tears in her eyes.
“I lost my son years ago” she said. “It was a horrible fluke accident, and it changed me. It never gets better; it just gets different.”
I have been reading a book on this trip called Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to understand how to get up from a fall. In it, she talks about how we make stories up in our head. Ones that we think will comfort the hurting inner child in us. Ones that are not correct. At the bar, mine went something like this, “Wow, I can tell this woman has had an amazing life. Look at her clothes and the way she holds her self and her toned arms. She’s probably married to some wealthy man and gets to spend hours at the gym working out everyday. I must look to her like a disheveled mess. Here I am in my old clothes, alone, the indent of where a wedding ring once was on my hand – glaring for all to see – that I am now truly alone. And let’s not even talk about what humidity does to my naturally curly hair and non-curly extensions. She is together. I am a mess. I’ll have another Vodka Cranberry, please!”
I don’t share my mind thoughts to invoke encouragement or sympathy from you. I nearly share them to tell you that if you do this, it’s NOT okay and we need to stop! Maybe it’s not this exact same story. As Brene says, maybe your story goes something like this, “I just asked my husband to take out the trash and he didn’t do it. Why does he never listen to me? I guess I did something wrong to deserve this non-communication? I am a horrible wife.” Or maybe this; “He told me he was going to call, but he hasn’t. I knew I wasn’t good enough for him. I ruined it. I am now going to be alone.” We all make up stories in our heads based on our needs, our fears, our insecurities. And nine times out of ten, they are based on our false assumptions. And the only way out of them is into them. To see them for what they are.
As I continued to talk to Carol, I realized that I couldn’t have had it more wrong. I imagined what her life was like, only to find out that we were much more alike than different. She had been knocked down repeatedly.
But she has learned through the years how to get back up. Her heart had been broken many times, and she continues to go after more love, more life, more sunsets.
Had I stayed in “my story” and not moved to the truth, I would never have realized any of this. But because I got present and truthful and honest and most importantly – vulnerable, I left incredibly inspired and encouraged.
Today we celebrate the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. That He made a way. And because of that WE have a way. A way to more love and to more life. He is the way THE TRUTH and the life.
His journey shows us how death and loss do not have to be the end but a new beginning.
Now, if HE could just do something about humidity and curly hair!
The story changed and hope arrived. Rise strong today my friend.