“SO… WHAT’S YOUR..STORY?
Outside the movie theater that day, they hand out oversized buttons with these words. A clever catch phrase soon to have us rolling with hilarious, tear-spilling over, side-holding, cracking up laughter… every… time… we… recall… the actor’s sort of elderly curmudgeon character-of-an-uncle… Jerry Lewis–style delivery…
You had to be there.
Hear the intonation.
The upturned way just that one word “story” rose into a kooky sing-songy question.
I don’t remember the name of the movie. Can’t really name the actors or what that question had to do with anything.
I only remember… we couldn’t stop laughing.
My 40-something parents… their best friends… their daughter (our best friend)… and my sister and I…
So many days and months after that…it would only take some ordinary moment to strike a note from that movie… and wham…light the silliness-fuse for someone to execute an absolutely perfect, every nuance down, full-out imitation that never failed to send us into gales upon whoops again!
It was one of those repeating scenes of the oh what a character every family seems to have… like the classically tender-funny comic ethnic mama who informs her grown children oh so matter of factly… “Oh, you don’t really care about me, I’m going to just put my head in the oven and get myself out of your way…so be sure and call Rose when you plan my funeral…and don’t forget Uncle Bob is hard of hearing… ”
🙂 You know…the one where the character is both endearing and nutsy…and you just want to hug ‘em or toss em’… all… in… one… fell… swoop!
🙂 One that is wondrously, marvelously, cleverly able to engrave your heart with indelible word or phrase.
🙂 Captures their story in that one single charming performance.
🙂 And bubbles over you with joy.
That memory has been one of many echoes lately of my mom and dad…our friends…
Reminding me of their stories…still in my heart.
And ringing out that question, a bit more seriously, in me.
So …what’s MY story?
What story is my life telling?
And…no children of my own…who is reading it?
To some of my closest friends and their children… I think I’ve often been the “book aunt” who delights in sharing great books on all occasions.
Or the “movie-or-old-TV-show-lovin’ lady” who is always taping or buying or sharing THE BEST with a “you’re just going to love this!”
But as the hours and days, weeks and years roll by like calendar pages whipping off across the screen of an old movie, whizzing us through time… I wonder.
What is the story you are writing in and through me, Father?
I know a few things that I want written there.
His heart follower.
New chapters of joy…music…light…
Someone who is reading it…
More clear understanding about what ways my story is making…or could be making… a difference. Wisdom and direction for His dream in me…
Like the moving story I heard yesterday… of an 1860 – 1947 man whose life is still read in the huge, handwritten ledger book recorded and kept in a beyond-words-beautiful English cemetery. One whose words even now reverberate to new generations of the faith-filled…
I love the closing line I heard on one of my favorite programs again today… one visiting character to a regular one: There are certain people who change your life. I will always remember you…
Just as I remember… My mom…
Grabbing a pen and paper, bending down by the TV to write down an address for some sort of poetry or prose contest on a game or talk show…
Confiding…sort of shyly…how she always dreamed of being a writer…
Maybe even whispering that dream into me in that very moment.
I don’t know what words she sent out or where she sent them that day.
As far as I ever heard, she never had anything published.
But I did see her writing lengthy, beautiful, heartfelt letters into the night… to her England pen pal… over thirty-something years.
Sending out lovely long notes with every Christmas or birthday or anniversary card…year after year.
Personalized, handwritten, keep-in-touch kinds of messages…oh so much more than the sometimes xeroxed news enclosed today…
And as I remember that, I hear again the words of a long-time friend of hers from the day we said “Adieu…until we see you again, Mom…”
“I have carried one of your mom’s last letters to me for so many years,” she tells me that evening, softly. “I never told her how much it meant to me and to [her husband]…it changed our thinking…”
I think again of how those words touched me deeply…made me wish Mom could have heard her say them.
She never knew, Lord, I whispered sadly. And I know she always wondered.
Just one of the many ways her story sang, as heart-stirring a note as ever her violin did in her growing up years…
And, I see now…made her truly…a writer.
Two thoughts whisper in me —
She knows now.
There are certain people, who change your life…
So…what’s my story?
And those being written around me… with me?
Will they echo?
O Lord, make it so.
© Pam Depoyan
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