Where to Find Stories

photo by Cece Cvercko, BLNK Studios, Daytona Beach

August Contemplation: 
Effective Communication—writing and speaking
Monthly Post #
1

***

A friend once asked where I find stories.

“Stories are everywhere,” I responded.

But my answer prompted more reflection.
After all, where is a story in the everywhere
And how does a story surface from this mass of infinity? 

As I dug deeper into my Where?,
I landed here:

I don’t find stories.
They find me. 
At least the ones that are dying to live.
The embodied ones.
The divine ones.
The ones that well up from within
and flow out
like tears at a funeral.  

These stories find me.

These stories are a matter of the heart. 

I want to spend August exploring the practice of writing and speaking, for I have worked hard at these, especially the past two years. I don’t profess to be proficient, but I am progressing. Foundationally, I earned a degree in English/Journalism, but more than anything I need to write simply to stay alive.

And as for speaking, I rejoined Toastmasters in April 2019. I knew this international public speaking organization, after saving my job in my mid 20s, could salvage me once again at midlife. But more on speaking later. Today, I want to focus solely on writing.

Writing is storytelling. First, finding the stories, and then harnessing the courage to put them out there into the world—for analyzing. And maybe and mostly for inspiring, to breathe. 

Writing is risky business. 

One has to enter this business of emptying with an attitude of expansion. Not with a primary goal of publishing a book for example. That will come if it should. But rather to discover oneself in its fullest most beautiful way—one word, one sentence, one story at a time. To speak. To be heard. To know that I am here in this day. 

Sacred stories find the writer. They appear when she’s not searching, yet when she’s alert—while sleeping, while dining, while conversing with a friend. Stories are there. Stories are here. Stories are everywhere.

Take yesterday for example. It was a rare calendar-free day. A no make-up, no bra day. A day for writing. My day. 

The story that found me yesterday upon waking was of two dear friends who had each lost one of their beloved sons—Samuel age 19 in July 2017, and then Jakin 10 weeks later at age 23. I will never fully understand my friends’ grief. I just know their sons will always live in my heart—their spirits forever infused. These two young men were part of my family and part of my two sons.

Yesterday’s daily Richard Rohr devotion was titled, “Good Grief.” I look forward to reading Rohr every morning. He speaks to me in my current season. Yesterday, he quoted one of his dear friends who had lost her 14-year-old daughter in a car accident.  

“My willingness to stay present through this process (of grief) was an act of devotion. By leaning into the horror and yielding to the sorrow, by standing in the fire of emptiness and saying yes to the mystery, I was honoring my child and expressing my ongoing love for her. It was not mere mindfulness practice; it was heartfulness practice.”

Jakin would have been 27 this week had he not been a passenger in that car that lost control that crashed into that tree, on his side, within siren range of his parents’ home. Gone. So fast. 

Too fast.

And two weeks ago, was a murder trial. Finally. But scheduled four years later, literally on the same week of Samuel’s death. Really? It’s all so very, very sad. Samuel gone. And another locked away.

A hitchhiker, sentenced 
to life in prison 
without parole.  
Drugs had gripped his soul 
with a fierce fist 
that would not let go. 

***

I don’t find stories. 
They find me. 
At least the ones that are dying to live. 
The embodied ones. 
The divine ones.
The ones that well up from within 
and flow out 
like tears at a funeral. 
 

These stories find me.

Yesterday,
I followed my writing
into the depths of my heart
and from afar
accompanied two friends
into theirs.

Published by Debby Kerr-Henry

I am a creative nonfiction writer who loves to capture you-can't-make-this-stuff-up-type stories. I believe in life-long learning and growing, in a "Better self. Better world." I value holistic health. My writing reflects these themes.

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