Who’s Writing Your Story?

“We are the first generation bombarded with so many stories from so many ‘authorities,’ none of which are our own. The parable of the postmodern mind is the person surrounded by a media center: three television screens giving three sets of stories; fax machines bringing in other stories; newspapers providing still more stories. We are saturated with stories; we’re saturated with points of view. But the effect of being bombarded with all of these points of view is that we don’t have a point of view and we don’t have a story. We lose the continuity of our experiences; we become people who are written on from the outside.” Sam Keen

No Small Roles

I caught up last night with a friend. We chatted on line (I think it’s called IM–my technological prowess revealed!). I have never done that before. I prefer to hear voices and see faces, but the opportunity arose, so I jumped on board. I haven’t “spoken” with this woman in years–no need to count, but could be a decade. What I came away with is this: Women Rock!!

She is divorced, putting two kids through college, and taking care of an aging and ill mother. No overt complaints, but more importantly no implied complaints, and I didn’t sense it in her tone. She was being guided by love. She loved her children. She loved her mother. She worked in the office and then came home and worked. But she did so because she was grateful for her family.

Women throughout the centuries have lived unsung lives of service to others. No hoopla, no hullabaloo. Just women going about their days on the planet in love and grace. Women Rock!!!

In this age of superlatives, where everything seems to have to be the biggest, the best, the newest, the fastest, women go about the business of life and recognize that service is the ultimate superlative. But not service driven by duty, service born of love. Wiping the bottoms of babies and wiping the bottoms of parents too ill from chemotherapy to manage themselves, this is service born of love. There are no small roles. You are appreciated. You are loved. You are seen. You are heard. And the world is grateful.

I see you Mr. Obama!

Last night Mr. Obama made a cameo appearance in my dream. I rarely dream about people I know or people in the public eye, so when I do, I pay attention. I don’t remember anything about the dream except the little snippet of Mr. Obama standing at the window looking out onto the grounds of the White House. He was pensive, stroking his chin, his expression earnest. How I cleared security to do this, I have no idea, and it is the wonder of dreams that we can so manipulate reality, but I was standing on the grounds just outside the window. The only thing I remember outside of this is how I felt and my plea to him: “Step away from the window Mr. Obama!”

I was frightened for him. He was much too vulnerable there in plain sight. He was an easy target for a sniper. I just kept shouting the same phrase over and over. Didn’t he understand that he should be more careful? Didn’t he recognize that people are “gunning for him” spurred on by the hate mongers in the media?

So I woke up this morning with this image of our president in my head, wondering what such a dream would mean. And I have come to this: it is time for all of us to be “in plain sight.” It is time for me to be willing to speak my mind for what I believe. I am fascinated by the fervor over his attempts to do SOMETHING. And horrified that we seem not able to have civil conversations about what to do. What is certain is that with the level of divisiveness that we are experiencing NOTHING will change.

In the much ballyhooed speech to the children of our nation, he said in his way what President Kennedy had said:

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

I do not know what is the best way to handle health care reform. I do not know how to fix the education system. I care not to enter into the world of politics per se because that is not my forte. And as my sister-in-law has reminded me, I am probably too forthright to be a politician. But it is clear, people want to be heard. People want their voices to be heard. And this is where I can help.

I can contribute to the freedom of man by helping one person at a time understand the power of his/her story. I can contribute to improving your health by helping you to appreciate your life’s story and work on the trajectory of the plotline to include healthfulness. I can supplement the educational system by helping students to gain a love of the language and to strengthen their writing voices for practical and emotional reasons.

So in my waking state I say: “I see you Mr. Obama. And I thank you for your courage and your fortitude in these trying and transitional times.”