Confessions of an Intermittent Beginning Blogger

It’s been several months since the last blog post.

I wonder how many blogs start with those words?

Carrie Newcomer wrote a song called “Before and After,” and repeated lyrics speak of the writer forgiving herself “for what she didn’t ask her,” “for what I didn’t know,” and “for what didn’t matter.”  I try to take Ms. Newcomer’s words to heart when I think about things like falling off the blogging wagon.

It’s a challenge to write.  It’s a challenge to write regularly.  It’s a challenge to write regularly when there’s a critic who lives in my head, wondering (vainly) about what is written.

I’ll forgive myself for what I don’t know and for what doesn’t matter.  Thank you, Carrie Newcomer.

[Insert a well-worded transition of your own here, because one didn’t come to mind for me.]

When I leave my office at the end of the work day, I drive past a hospital, then come to a stop sign where two lanes of traffic wait to turn.  I am always in the right turn lane, and about half the time there is also someone in the left turn lane.

One day while waiting for traffic to pass and sitting a few moments in the right lane, I glanced to the left, watching the traffic driving perpendicular to my route.  My gaze settled for a moment on the man in the car next to me.  It was an older car and an older man.  Gray car.  Gray hair.  Imagining that he had just come from visiting an ailing loved one at the hospital, I wondered if there would be a way to offer a time of story sharing for people who are hospitalized and their family members and close friends.  What if this time of story sharing could give people the chance to say what they needed to say in order to help whatever healing process they might be needing?  The term “Healing Stories” came to mind, and for the next few weeks, whenever I thought of Healing Stories, my own spirit settled down a bit inside of me.

I was at the same stop sign a month later.  I was in the right turn lane and a middle aged woman with dark hair was in the left turn lane beside me.  We both stopped only momentarily before moving on.  Healing Stories came to mind again, this time with the thought that maybe Healing Stories can be drawn out and shared at random intervals in our lives, at times when we stop and sit next to someone long enough to ask a question or allow our own stories to be drawn out for the sharing.

I have a feeling that these spaces and times for sharing healing stories are all over the place, and I’m going to try to start looking for them, noticing them and settling into whatever time there is for sharing.  How about you?  What are your opportunities to open yourself to Healing Stories?

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Same song second verse. A little bit louder & a little bit worse.

It was a cold day just a few weeks ago and right after my 50th birthday.  I’d worn a pair of tan pants, a brown sweater and scarf to the office.  It was a cold day, and warm clothes were key to comfort.  Sometime mid-morning I thought, “I don’t remember buying these pants.”  A little while later, I had a memory that the other tan pants I did remember having had a different waistband and were a little shorter.  I’d been a bit annoyed at their “high water” length but noticed the pair I had on this day were actually plenty long.

When I got home and changed into a pair of sweats, I threw these pants down the clothes chute.  A couple days later my husband Keith said, “I can’t find my new pair of tan pants anywhere!”

“WHAT?!  When did you buy new tan pants?” I asked, horrified at what Keith’s question likely meant.

“When I bought myself a new pair of jeans,” Keith told me,  not nearly as worked up as I was at that moment.

I told him to check the chute.  When he found the pants, he confirmed thIMG_4497ey were his, and then I came out with the story of how I’d worn these pants and racked my brain trying to remember when and where I bought them.  We laughed until we cried.

In my defense, Keith had hung his new pants on my side of the closet.  That made me feel a little better.  But only a little.  (A):  How could I wear my husband’s pants?  And (B):  How could I not realize it when I was getting dressed in the first place?

After that, Keith hung these signs on our closet’s center post:

I have a job in which I need to do a fair amount of public speaking.  When I write out a presentation, what drives me crazy is the very first sentence.  What will I say that paves the way for the rest of the message?

I’m a first-time blogger, but it wasn’t the first blog that was the hardest.  It was this second one.  I’d been thinking about that first blog for awhile, composing it in my head.  It felt like the story that needed to go first.

But what comes next?  It seemed right to let you know that sometimes I’m just plain weird.  And so is my life.

When we encounter people the second (or third or fourth times) how do we give them the chance to surprise us with the stories they tell?

Hello world!

On August 14, 2009, my husband and I flew to Pittsburgh from DesMoines on Midwest Airlines.  It was the days before we did online check-in, and I saved the torn-off end of the boarding pass because of its “Notice” on the back which read:  “This portion of the ticket should be retained as evidence of your journey.”

I keep this as a page marker in a book I read daily.  It’s a book with dated entries like:

“January 1:  The New Year”

“January 2:  Healthy Limits”

“January 3:  Nurturing Self-Care”

This book very nearly jumped off the shelf at me a number of years ago when I was in a setting that threatened to eat me up slowly from the inside out.  The bookmark reminds me that I am on a journey and, for good or ill, I retain pieces of evidence from that journey.

Some evidence takes the form of tokens, like this ticket stub.  Other evidence is made up of memories and the various emotions that accompany them.  And some of the evidence I retain are stories–stories that I hope to share here.

I find that writing is a way to connect with myself, and writing publicly helps remind me that I’m not alone, that my stories aren’t for me only.  I realize no one may read these stories, and if they do, they may not care that they did.  But stories are meant to be shared.

Recently I heard someone say, “If you tell your story, it opens up a space for others to tell theirs.”

What’s your story?  What evidence do you have of your journey?