A Story {Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.}

Maya Angelou said that “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Virginia Woolf pointed out that “if you don’t tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

Do we believe this? When a story grips us is it because something of real life touches something deep inside of us and holds on with the ferocity of a hurricane? View More: http://rachaelhopephotography.pass.us/abby-1-year-collection

I think back to the first stories that I read over and over again. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott with its tattered cover from my grandmother’s collection and small image of a ship glued inside the first page. “Little House on the Prairie” series with their paperback covers and the traveling adventures of Laura Ingalls Wilder. “Till We Have Faces” by C.S. Lewis with its mystery, allegory and beauty.

I would crawl into the back of my closet and hide from the world while I escaped into someone else’s story. I would climb a big oak tree on the expanse of my family’s Texas acreage and be lost to the all but the unfolding narrative in my hands. My first dreams were birthed here. My concepts of romance, adventure, mystery and history. I told my own future “story” through the lens of what I read and believed: all good characters have a moral struggle, foreshadowing of something greater, a climax of turmoil, and then all is resolved by the last page. That timeline for my life fit nicely with my A-type personality. View More: http://rachaelhopephotography.pass.us/abby-1-year-collection

As an internal relations and journalism student in college, I thought I would just publish small pieces along the way to reaching this pinnacle of resolve. I would report on other’s lives. I would take notes, absorb wisdom, and then eventually I would have my own story to tell. After YEARS and YEARS of life, I would have the answers worth sharing with my readers. My experiences would shape theirs.

But what if story has nothing to do with the exact experiences and certainly nothing to do with the final resolve? What if the last page was never meant to be published? What power would Story still have?

I’ve avoided writing much for the last several years of my life. I can chalk that up to lack of time as a full-time working mama of two. But if I look deeper, it’s because I have very few answers. The turmoil seems unending. The story’s timeline keeps unfolding and twisting and turning in a way that my storyteller’s mind clearly disapproves. No resolve seems forthcoming, and who wants to read about a constant pinnacle of struggle? It’s exhausting. View More: http://rachaelhopephotography.pass.us/hasz-family-collection

But I dare you to keep that type of story bottled up inside. It will slowly eat away until you have ceased to recognize yourself and the words have all dried up. If you discredit your story, then you discredit yourself and that is no way to live.

“I wanted a perfect ending,” Gilda Radner said. “Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

I want to tell you a story of hope. Not because I am currently in possession of great hope. But because there is great foreshadowing of that hope in my twists and turns. I can’t tell you how this story will end, but I can invite you into delicious ambiguity. I can be honest and transparent about the ugly and the beautiful that is making me whole. I can pray that you read truth that also grips your soul in its ferocity and perhaps you will see your own story in a different light. Perhaps you will stand in what is versus what should be. Perhaps I will do the same.

To be continued…



{All photos credit to Haven: Life & Photo}

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