Uncomfortable stories

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Like many families, my family enjoys retelling stories of my own idiocy or deviousness.

There was the time I ruined dinner at the campsite by knocking the entire pot of pasta into the dirt; the time I locked my brother in the shed for the better part of the hour; or the time that I stood on my baby sister’s hands, grinding them into the floor, and professed I did not know why she was whimpering. They all laugh at these memories, and I squirm. I don’t like to be reminded of my past mistakes, or more seriously, my own inner darkness.

Uncomfortable stories are never our first choice. We don’t want to listen to or think about difficult things. We use Netflix as a salve and drift along the shallow seas of outrage on Facebook and Twitter. We keep ourselves from the hard stories. The complicated stories. The stories without tidy endings. The stories that might require too much of us as a person, that might urge us to change our minds or talk with our neighbors.

We are all very tired, and we need more grace for each other than ever. But I’d contend that it is a good moment to sit with our discomfort a little and listen to something challenging. Listen to a story that makes us squirm. Listen to a story that shows us ourselves. And perhaps, in this tragic time, such stories may resurrect our imaginations.

(Opening letter from this week’s Story Matters, the little email that I get to write and send for work.)

. . .

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This is how we spend most of our free time now. What else is there to do?

Moses continues to be great fun, nearing his fourteenth month. He is inquisitive and sweet, sensitive as a spring flower. We take daily walks, we work, we read, we try not to talk too much about coronavirus, we focus on the moment (when we can, when visions of the future don’t send us into a hypothetical tailspin). I have nothing meaningful to say about the space we find ourselves in, as a country, except that we are all finding ways to persevere and extend grace when we can.

. . .

One thought on “Uncomfortable stories

  1. I’m happy that my childhood was not captured on twitter or Facebook. Your story about the pasta is pretty close to mine. My younger sister and I pretended to hang the neighbor playing Lone Ranger. We had a noose around her neck and she was standing on her tricycle (horse,) when her mother came screaming out the front door.

    We didn’t really plan to hang her. Still, from a mother’s point of view, we were a step away from a horrible accident.

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