There is a recurring theme the past week or so in my life, and it is the power of our story. No, I do not mean "the power of the LaJoy story", but the power of the story of the lives of each and every one of us...you, me, those we know, those we don't know. Being "heard", having our story be acknowledged is life changing. But how many of us really listen to the story of others? How often do we blow right past those whose personal stories are moving, offer lessons we need to learn, or are needing to be told?
I am very, very fortunate. Blessed beyond belief. At this time in my life, I have many wonderful people who have taken time to "hear my story". It is not always the adoption story. At various times it has been the faith story, it has been the story of my twenties, it has been the story of my sorrows or sometimes the story of my joys. But having my story heard...whichever story it might be at that moment...has changed me. I have not always had this, I have not always had people in my life who would quietly listen, who were wise, who passed on to me the gift of not trying to "one up"me on the "Pain scale" but simply heard me.
I also saw our story (yes, now I am talking about the LaJoy story...but not the adoptive story) from a different perspective this evening, and it was like seeing my life with new eyes. My mother-in-law is here for her first visit to our home and our community. She arrived this afternoon, so we took her for a drive to see the place we call home. We drove through the streets of Montrose...up and down the two main drags of Main Street (yes, we actually have a Main Street) and Townsend Avenue which are the only two real commercial districts. We drove to the neighboring community of Olathe where the boys go to school.
I saw our paradise as others might see it. I saw the road we drive every day that leads to our home which takes us past a salvage yard, a drilling company and a stinky dairy with hundreds upon hundreds of cows. I saw the blackened ditches recently burned for weed abatement in preparation for spring's new growth. I saw shuttered stores on our Main Street, far too many of them as the economy takes it's toll on a small town. In Olathe I saw real poverty, and I know this sounds so stupid and trite but I had not really seen it in that way before. Dilapidated homes bordering being called shacks, lots full of rusting appliances and run down cars, roads in such terrible need of repair that people swerve constantly to avoid bottoming out their car.
Don't get me wrong, we have some beautiful neighborhoods where we live and of course the views are breathtaking. But it seemed that tonight as our travels took us on our daily path that much of what we see every day is far from most people's expectation of what paradise should look like.
So what is it about this place that makes it so for us? Why is it that anytime I fly home from someplace else, I eagerly peer out the window as the landscape draws ever closer and think to myself "We are so lucky to live here...I love this place so much!"? Why is it that as I have driven my kids back and forth to school each day for the past 5 years I have not seen what is right before my eyes?
I think it is because this is where our story is, it is a place where friendships have blossomed, where stress has lessened, where strong values have taken hold. It is a place where God's goodness is seen often in the relationships that surround us. I don't see the run down neighborhoods surrounding my children's school, I see instead the mom's waving to me from their own driver's seat as we pass each morning, I see the grins of the children kicking up dust from the path as they walk home, I see the care of so many teachers at their school.
The place where our story begins forms us in so many ways, doesn't it?
This blog is a place almost like a community, everyone's blogs are. It is a place where parts of our story are told, where I elect to open up and share pieces of our life to unknown people as well as those few who I know in "real life" who follow the blog Sometimes that can be quite unsettling, because when I write about "our story", I tend to write more intimately than I would ever speak about in public, and sometimes subjects come up that I might elect not to share with someone in casual conversation. This is my Thinking Place, it has become my "Virtual Labrynth" where I work to come to conclusions and figure out what is really important, what to let go of and what to hang on to.
I think I finally figured out one of the reasons that I have kept the blog public. It is because I hope that somehow, through reading about our very ordinary family others can somehow be led to find the extraordinary that exists within their own family. The LaJoy's are not any different from any of you, we have boring days, we have happy moments, we have struggles and challenges. We go to work, we go to school, we come home, we do it again. We are not extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination. But in trying to record the Sacred Moments of our lives for our children, I have hoped that somehow you too have been able to identify the Sacred in your own lives. The posts I write that often get many comments are usually not exciting, they are not life altering. They are the little things, they are the things that often we all overlook as part of "our story" because we are so busy living that story we are blinded to the power of it.
Your story has power and meaning, it contains within it much that is Sacred. Are you seeing it? Can you stop and be the one, for just a moment, to listen to your own story?
I'll bet it is simply amazing...