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One Little Word, April 2019 Update

It’s the last Tuesday of the month and that means it’s time to join in with Juliann and talk about my one little word journey.

The other day I was in Target buying $113 worth of stuff I didn’t need . . . as one does . . . when I saw this journal. Normally this is something I would pass right over but this time I just couldn’t resist. It’s full of pages with prompts at the top to help you write your story. It asks questions like what role did books play in your childhood, describe your first job, describe a time when you played a mentor role in someone’s life, and so much more.

So far I’ve only filled out the timeline pages. It’s broken out in 5 year increments, ages 0-5, 6-10, 11-15 etc, and it’s been really interesting to me to see what I remember from each of those 5 years of my life. Some events really stand out like going to a different junior high school than all my friends or meeting Doreen for the first time. Some events are tragic like the death of my brother when I was 17. Lots of events are just routine, going to church, graduating from high school, getting my first job.

One of my first memories, from when I was around 2, is of my mom sleeping in the corner of my bedroom. I think it stuck out for me because it was unusual and when I asked her about it when I was in my teens she was shocked that I remembered but she confirmed that it had indeed happened; when she and my father were in the process of separating she shared my room for about a week. I think it bothered her when she realized that one of my first memories was of something sad and tragic. The funny thing is, though, it wasn’t sad and tragic to me. I can clearly remember waking up and seeing her asleep in the corner and feeling comforted and loved. I didn’t know she was there because she couldn’t bear to sleep in the same room with her husband as their marriage fell apart, I just knew she was there and I felt safe.

So. My story of this event is a happy one and hers is a sad one. I think the same came be said for so many of our stories. Sometimes we are heroes and sometimes we are villains, sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail, sometimes we are bathed in grace and glory and sometimes we’re in the muck and mire. The bottom line is that it all depends on how you frame it. Or even, as I’m coming to realize, how you own it.

We’ve got to own our stories because, in the end, it’s our stories that truly last.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. And the journal seems like it has already become a precious treasure. What an excellent find!

  2. That’s so true! It’s all a matter of perspective.
    That diary sounds wonderful! Once you’ve filled it out, it will be a real treasure, I’m sure. I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. Start with the big events, write down smaller memories from there. I’ve been thinking about it for years, actually, but I never really started. Maybe I should.

  3. What a great idea to write your story in one place, for you and others. Once it’s finished it will be a wonderful story of you, but the process of writing sounds like an interesting and valuable way to remember and compose that story.

  4. You are very wise — and very right! The stories of our own lives and history in general are a matter of perspective (I have that line from Hamilton running through my head now: “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.”). I think it’s great that you found this journal and are filling it out. It will be a real treasure to read through in the future.

  5. What a beautiful story to share, Carole. You’re so right . . . perspective is key. I’m always surprised when my sister and I remember the same events from our childhood in such different ways! I love that you found that special journal during your “Target-run” (as we call them in our family). What a perfect way to explore your word. XO

  6. Carol this is wonderful. My mother wrote her “Life Journey”
    And it is in the format of a published book by a company. This was a project at her assisted living, and it truly is a treasure to me.
    She also had remembered details from early on, and other moments with the family such as when her brothers enlisted for the war, her mothers cooking and even a bedtime prayer I had never heard that her sister taught her.
    My mother always loved books too…. We all have a story, wonderful Carol.

  7. Everything about this post, the inspiration, the story, it’s all just perfect. I’m happy that you shared it.

  8. What a perfect find, Carole! I hope it turns out to be a tool that helps you write your story and prompts you to remember things that you would otherwise forget to include. And thank you for sharing the story of your mom. It’s wonderful that your first thought was that she was there for you; it’s very telling about how your felt about her.

  9. Seeing how each one of you find things throughout the year that highlight your “one word”. “Story” is my favorite word you or anyone else has picked through the years. This word fits you well and I enjoy hearing the many stories you’ve shared.

  10. This is such a sweet story….with lovely times and with some tears. Your story inspired me to chronicle my own life. Thank you so much for sharing yours!

  11. Oh, I love that you have this story about your mom. and most abundantly YES – I KNOW that we RE-member things differently. which is good and bad. but also why I’m kind of of an mission to document the Now. (for real) 🙂

  12. Very well written. Sometimes we are in the muck and mire and other times – grace and glory preside. Either way, we all have a story. I try to remember that as I encounter people in my community. They all have a story and I need to listen.

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