This is my story.
Mine is a story of six kids in twelve years.
It’s a story of beauty and mess and dirty dishes, of mismatched socks and the occasional misspent afternoon. It’s a noisy story.
It’s cloth diapers and baby slings, playsilks and wooden trucks, herbal salve and homemade granola. It’s baby toes and midwives and trips to church and trips the library. It’s typing during nap time and stealing moments from the margins of the day.
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It’s a story of interruptions. So many interruptions. And sometimes the interruptions are interruptions, and sometimes the interruptions are the story.
It’s about working with your hands so your mind can be still. It’s about watching for beauty, practicing contentment, pursuing peace.
It’s still a noisy story.
It is a story that tries to tell the truth every day.
It’s a story of doing small things with great love, except sometimes I forget the love part and it’s more like doing small things with great exhaustion.
Mine’s a simple story, nothing flashy, but simple isn’t quite the same as easy.
Some days it is a story of bone-weary, soul-thirsty. It is a story of tired. It is a story of imperfection.
It is a story of get up and try again tomorrow.
I can get discouraged at those parts of the story.
But the other day I read this, in Tsh Oxenreider’s Notes From a Blue Bike: “We were made to live slower than our fast-paced Western culture deems normal. But it means paddling upstream through strong currents.”
And this: “It’s hard to slow down when the race has no finish line.”
And I remembered: it’s hard work, living our stories.
It’s meaningful, important, soul-forging work.
Maybe your story is backyard chickens and a milking goat. (Mine is not.)
Maybe your story is world travel, backpacks and hiking trails, swimming in the ocean. (Wow!)
Maybe your story is blending work and family life in ways that make sense.
Maybe your story is early mornings and running shoes.
Maybe your story is making a difference in the life of the person in front of you.
Maybe your story is doing the next right thing for right now.
Or maybe you’re not sure what your story is anymore.
It happens. You grow up, you get busy, and then you look around one day and find that the story you’re living doesn’t match the story in your heart.
You aren’t living your story. You’re living someone else’s story, or you’re living the culture’s default story, or you’re living a generic story with fill-in-the-blank details.
And you weren’t made for that. You were made with a story all your own.
If that’s where you find yourself, it’s okay. Slow down.
Listen for the still, small voice in your heart.
It’s whispering the way back.
Living your own true story is not always easy. It’s always good, but it’s not always easy. It’s work. It’s the work of a life well-lived, and it’s worth doing.
My story doesn’t look like yours and your story doesn’t look like mine, because our stories are our own. I applaud you for living yours. I’ll keep working on living mine. We’ll do it together, and that will make all the difference.
Go ahead. Live your story.
Tsh’s publisher sent me a copy of Notes From a Blue Bike to check out. If your story is one about living simply, I bet you’ll love it, too.