I have some dear friends who own a tiny-house coffee shop they named Story because they love the idea that everyone has a story worth sharing, from the stories of them pursuing this coffee shop dream, traversing the country in a tiny house with their children, and going to competitions along their way to learn and grow so they can make kickass coffee seem like it’s easy to the stories of the rest of the people who make their coffee Story come to life: the coffee growers, their roaster who almost lost her hand in a freak roasting accident, the local baristas who work shifts for their roaster friend and donate the pay so she can still pay her bills and recover. They’ve adopted a motto of sorts:
(Photo jacked from their Facebook page with permission)
LIVE YOUR BEST STORY
On one of Story’s pop tart Tuesday’s this summer I drove past the shop because homemade cherry pop tarts make everything better (no coffee because crutches don’t come with cup holders). While I was there I met a friendly old gentleman who asked me about my story as he glanced at my leg, stump, and crutches. I gave him a short, one line answer with about as much information about why I became an amputee as I have put on here and he both praised me for what I shared and challenged me for what I didn’t:
“How can you live your best story if you won’t acknowledge it? How can you live your best story if you don’t tell it so others can be inspired by it?”
I like telling stories and I like to think I’m good at it. It certainly makes me smile to have people reach out to tell me that something I wrote hit home or inspired them, or when I see people I’m telling stories to laugh or smile or cry. I can tell my husband’s story all day, and the story of a hundred people I know without having to think hard about it. But I haven’t actually told my story, I’ve only alluded to it.
A friend told me recently that I can be forward at times in sharing bits about my life and that he finds it refreshing. But when I am really honest about what I have shared, although it may seem like a deep story I’m telling, I have only actually shared the story that’s related to what you would physically see if you look at me and the details have been very sparingly sprinkled into the mix.
Am I really being THAT forward and open if I am only sharing a sentence or two, a snarky remark, and a knowing smile about the cover of my proverbial book if I never share the stuff within? Am I really sharing my path so others can be inspired if I only share the stuff that is easily understood? Or am I being the most colossal chicken-shit and fraud by not telling my story here — which is supposed to be all about me telling the stories of brokenness overcome — because sharing more than the surface of my struggle has at times left me hurt and broken?
As I sat at Story talking to that older gentleman, he told me his story and he didn’t leave out the gory details. He told me of the three surgeries he had in the last 18 months and how hard they were for him, he told me of his life long ago and his adventures, and he told me, admonished really, that a story untold will never have the power to change the world.
“You don’t know if your story will change the world of one person or if it will change the world for everyone, but you do know that it won’t change anyone if it is not told and that you can’t live your best story if you’re not letting your story change the world.”
Well, old man, challenge accepted! I guess it’s time to start telling my story.