An Invitation to Stories

» Posted in Inspirational, Mental Health, Personal Growth | 2 comments

 Pensive man

As I’ve been thinking about my blogging, I’ve had a stirring in my heart to do something a bit different.  Something that’s not the usual offering from a psychologist — yet something that actually makes some sense, given that I really do have a front row seat to how God transforms people’s lives.  I have heard so many of your stories over the years; I have wept with you, I have celebrated with you, and I have carried hope for you when you have been at the end of your rope.

And so, while I have enjoyed writing informational blogs that provide readers with insight about various issues, I have long had a desire to do something of greater significance.  Something that will give readers a glimpse into the stories of others; something that will shift their viewpoint of humanity even by small degrees; something that will help them see behind darkly veiled windows to what secretly goes on in people’s lives.  I want readers to know that everyone’s story matters, even as we have a hard time understanding why people do what they do.  Even when we ourselves are injured by the vagaries of human nature, causing us to become cynical and unable to see the vulnerable humanity in others.

Today, I sat in my office listening to a man’s pain as he shared with me his fateful decision to have an affair.  His friends and family were all quick to point the finger of blame at him for his moral failure.  I heard about his patterns of selfishness and I experienced his defensiveness and prickly anger as he struggled to tell his story.  Yet I saw beneath his defences and saw the hurting man that he was.  I heard his yearning for affirmation and a desire to really matter, even has he blustered and denied his emotional needs.  And I thought, whoever listens to HIS story?  He had betrayed his vows, made poor decisions throughout his life time, and so of course, he was the one to be vilified when his life fell off of the rails.  He doesn’t get a voice, right?

As I began to speak to him without judgement and gently laid before him a picture I was seeing of HIS broken heart, his eyes began to water.  He had no words to say, even as I could tell I was connecting with a deep part of him that had long been forgotten.  And as I heard more of his story and learned about the harsh treatment and cold abandonment by his parents, I began to understand just a bit more about his hidden pain.

No, this wasn’t an excuse for his choices or a justification for the great pain that he caused his family, nor was it an attempt to blame his parents.  I knew that only by offering him grace – as our Lord offers us – could he begin to even unpack all of the damage that he had done over the years.  Only by providing him with a safe place to be accepted and receive compassion could he then begin to heal, grow and make the changes that he desperately needed to make – for his sake and his family’s sake.

And so I’d like to begin a series I’m entitling, ” Short Stories”.  I have no specific plan or agenda, so I don’t know how long this series will last.  But I want to help readers see inside the life of someone who struggles with depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, or someone who chooses to walk away from his family.  I want readers to open their eyes and their hearts to the people around them so that their pain can have meaning and be transformational for those who have the privilege to hear their stories.  None of these narratives will be based on real clients or people, but will be created out of my imagination and my experience working as a therapist.  I pray that these stories will enable you to walk in someone else’s shoes so that your heart would grow in compassion and understanding for the hurting people around you.  Yes, they are all around you.  Maybe hidden from your view, but they are there.

I would love to hear from you along the way so that I know which stories strike a chord with you or which issue I need to explore further.  Please send me your emails, comments or suggestions for future stories.  And feel free to tell me YOUR story; I would love to be your captive audience for at least a moment so that you will know that you have been heard and that you matter.

 

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2 Comments

  1. This is such an absolutely amazing thing to do. As I read your thoughts Merry my heart was stirred. Hearing the stories of other people so help you connect and know you are not alone, and no, you are definetely not crazy, and the people really do care. Thank you for having the courage and compassion to do this. I eagerly look forward to “connecting” with others vicariously through the stories you will share, to be re-affiremed that I am not alone, and to remember that there truly is hope.

    • Beautifullly said, Julia! Thanks for your encouragement. I’m praying that God will really use these stories to bring hope and healing for people!

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