The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

few thoughts on "the stories we tell ourselves"

Thanksgiving week.  Today I expect to finish up my grocery shopping.  The aisles have been swapped! Yesterday, I chickened out within five minutes of arriving inside the store.  Sunday shoppers are surprisingly feisty, the Monday crowd seemed aggressive.  I have time, and my list is dwindling - five minutes worth of shopping at a time.  Thinking about cooking the turkey today and compressing it to provide space in our tiny refrigerator for other things.
Also on today's list, icing cookies to gift the neighbors.  I am thankful for really great neighbors here at the rent house.
Still whistling snippets of the Saint-Saëns which we began rehearsing in September.  The performance was Sunday past.  Next work will be Mozart's Coronation Mass which I'm looking forward to.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the stories we tell ourselves. Mark Twain observed,

  • "... life does not consist mainly -- or even largely -- of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head. ",  
  •                         the stories we tell ourselves.

  • The Pastor's sermon a few Sundays back got me to thinking about it.  He said his step dad was physically and emotionally abusive.  He didn't say emotionally, he used a guy word that I can't recall right this minute.  He said he hated him.  And he told himself that basically everything wrong in his life was wrong because of this man, his mother's husband.  Somehow, and I believe it was part of his conversion process, he told his step dad that he was angry and asked him to forgive him for that anger.  Personally, I don't think anger is "a sin" but I do think anger may incentivize sinful actions.  That's probably what he was talking about.  His own actions.  

  • Some stories are about God will make things right.   Well, some little stories are about that, but I guess that's really one of the major themes of the Bible ... redemption, restoration.

  • Love is a theme we seem to like.  
  • I think love stories are really the main stories ... finding love, nurturing love, sadly - losing love, love will make it "right", unconditional love.  Love as a theme seems to transcend the genres as a major need and therefore point of interest.  I am wondering what I tell myself about love.  About who I love, how I love, how I am loved, or not ... and less importantly, the things I "love".

The flowing of time is another interesting topic as stories go.  
I sometimes look at my hands and think of how different they looked when I first started noticing them.  Say, for example, when I first started wearing a wedding ring.  My hands have been busy since then.  We all have busy hands.  The lady sitting next to me in the choir had her 75th birthday on Saturday.  She lost her husband this year ... this was her first birthday without him in I don't know how long.  Her hands look strong.  The skin is loose and spotted yet the actual hands are still strong. Her clear blue eyes sparkled.  I loved singing beside her. My mother-in-laws hands were continuously shaky as they searched, seemingly with a mind of their own, for something to fidget with.  The nurses told me that reaching for the air and pulling at the bedding was fairly common for those nearing death.

I like stories of discovery and tend to see them as a result of some heroic effort.  I see one type of  hero as the character in stories about discovery.  Of course they are the good guys in all the good-verses-evil stories.  Those stories aren't always about saving the planet from __________, sometimes they are small stories like reaching something down (adore that phrase, it just popped up from little memory wrinkled up in the 60's) for someone, or holding a door.  I like good guys.   

  • Those larger font words are probably the main types of story themes I think about.  It seems like to me that telling oneself "right" stories would be most helpful.  

  • Stephen Covey has some pretty good ideas.

    Mrs. Roosevelt is one of my favorites.
I do believe that we collaborate with God to create ourselves.  We are "becoming" ready for what comes next.  That's what I think.  And I'm going to start paying better attention to "the stories" I tell myself about me.  I remember that movie, The Help, where the lady told the child, "You is smart, you is kind, you is important."  
Those seem like good words to tell a child.  One of the things I tell myself that simply is not true is that I am alone.  Just not true at all.  Not even a little bit.  
This is busy day.  I'm doing the day before Thanksgiving cooking, so I have to scoot, but I wanted to make a few notes about this while it's still near the front of my mind.  I think you can observe the people you know well, like yourself (myself) and see some wrong thinking going on. I think it's a good exercise to listen to what the story you tell your self sounds like and recheck the authenticity.  Along that same line, I know just from being a grown up that some of the stuff I was told as a child just isn't correct.

“His words, soaring above his circumstances, set his troubles in a context large enough to contain them.”  Derek Kidner.

The Kidner quote - even when one doesn't have "troubles" to speak of, words may establish a context wherein life events are processed and  "contained".

I bet there are only a few "themes" that are explored or re-inforced by the stories I (maybe even subconsciously) tell myself.  It's fairly easy to see those I know best establishing "stories" about themselves or what is going on around them - some of the stories  not accurate and in the falseness harmful. One of mankind's first stories "God is withholding something good from us" hasn't fortified our way ... has supported troubles.

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