For myself, I don’t believe I’ve learned any more important skill in my 70 plus years than that of being able to tell my story, a story that is filled with challenges as well as successes (crosses and resurrections in Christian terms). Before I learned that skill, I was isolated and afraid, although if you asked me then, I would have sincerely denied any such a state. I needed to take the risky step of sharing my story in order to learn that truth.
Elyn Saks has shared her story, a terrifyingly horrendous struggle with schizophrenia. You may very well have seen it. Her June 2012 TED talk has generated almost five million views. Wow! As I listen to her tell her story, I can’t help but identify with her fears of being different, of being shunned and marginalized. I marvel at her willingness and ability to tell her story and wonder at how she has not only survived but also become extremely successful in the eyes of most of us. She credits that to her many close friends, family and great doctors.
Most of us I suppose will never get the opportunity to tell our story at TED. Most of us I further suspect, wouldn’t want to, but there are other ways. Khaldiya, a 17 year old refugee living in Jordon tells her story through film, a skill she learned as a child in Syria. Her video is featured in the New York Times Op-Docs January 27, 2016 Another Kind of Girl. Through no fault of her own, she finds herself living as a refugee in a strange land (her cross). Her ability to accept her situation in combination with her learned video skills lead to a positive life (resurrection) where I believe many of us would find resentment, futility and yes death.
Three simple actions to help in choosing life:
- Seek opportunities to tell your story and then risk doing it.
- Listen to others tell their story and see how you are the same.
- Surround yourself with family and friends by being a good friend.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.