Here we are in this space and time, Anna. Today you celebrate 56 years! WOW! As my aunt Adell would say, “You go girl!” If Brene Brown was interviewing me, she would ask me a question that she asks of all her guests at the beginning of her interviews on “Unlocking Us”.
Tell us your story.
I love a good life story. Even as a little girl, when my mom would take me to the library, I would select a good biography. One I remember to this day is a book about Wilma Rudolph. Her life story of poverty, racism, tragedy, triumph, and gender equality spoke to me even if I could not understand the depths of those individual words.
One particular episode Brene was interviewing Esther Perel. I shared the love of this podcast and episode with a friend who, like me, said she had to listen to it twice. We both were astonished at the word “paradox” in our relationships and the roles we play. I encourage you to notice this in the episode. If you prefer to read the transcript, Brene provides this as an alternative or you can follow along to the audio with the transcript.
“I’m glad you talked about where you come from. I want to start with asking you, if you’ll tell us your story? All the way, if you’ll tell us your story from baby Esther.” (Brene Brown, Unlocking Us)
Somehow asking it that way always gets me. “Baby Esther”. Can you remember when you were a baby? A tiny person living life, figuring out your place in the family, going to school, and making friends? Did you pack lunch or buy? What were your favorite snacks? What did you watch on television? Who were you in the context of your family? How did your family worship? What is your heritage? How did that influence your life? Before all the complex questions were answered by Esther, we took a small moment just to recognize the way we all come into the world no matter how you answer those questions.
A tiny, helpless baby.
If I close my eyes and think of my myself as a baby, I can see the generations of my mom, myself, and my children, and now my grandchildren. We come into this world not as a clean slate in which to write but as a soul who tells the story of the generations. You can’t talk, walk, or reason; yet, you are already filled with a story.
Esther shares her story. I can’t copy and paste it. You have to go listen or read it. It’s too powerful to take it out of context of the interview. I will share Brene’s response,
” I have goosebumps because maybe this is true for all of us in some way, but you make it so clear that a whole world already lived in you when you were born. Like a whole world of legacy, of expectation, of sorrow, of grief, of pain, of hope. I mean, it’s like there was a whole cosmos in little Esther as a newborn. Has story always been important to you? It feels like it’s a thread in your life.” (Brene Brown, Unlocking Us)
I’m almost an empty nester and it’s taken me this long to get this. Really get it in the context of story and generations.It was a miraculous healing of a faulty thinking in my mind. I assumed if I were a perfect parent, my children would be excused from their story having pain, sorrow, and heartache. You can study epigenetics, family of origin, birth order, and the plethora of personality inventories. All of these and more will confirm what I’m conveying; however, I could not grasp this spiritually. I had a spiritual experience in which God showed me through Esther’s story the power of story in the lives of our children and the hope that is born from adversary. My paradox of “perfect parent” was spotlighted, and I have released my anguish to be loved by a God who never stopped loving me.
Who is baby, Anna?
There are so many things I could share but I’ll keep it simple like the flap copy of a book describing the pages in a few paragraphs.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
This was the verse my dad and mom shared each morning in our home for over 15 years. My sweet aunt sent me a birthday card with this verse. I was reminded once again of my desire to wake each morning to His unfailing love and trust in Him to show me the way to go. I pray this for my children and grandchildren. My life is anchored to this message. I’ve been in the depths of despair created by myself and life choices and created by things out of my control. I’ve scaled the mountain tops of joy and His glory. I’ve lived in the mundane of day in and day out. Through it all, He has never changed. His love is unfailing. “Let My Life Praise You!”
My mom shared an old CD of One Reason, a musical group I was a part of many years ago. She was so insistent that I listen to it. Thank you my mama for reminding me of how much I love to worship and sing. Thank you for sharing His love and showing me that no matter your story, His unfailing love matters most. I had a birthday dinner with my mom last night.
It’s so wonderful to sit and talk about the years and see His unfailing love through our shared stories. As my pastor shared, when it “Just so happens……….” the happenings all add up to a legacy of God using it all to love you and to love others. He is starting a series on Esther from the Old Testament, not Esther Perel 🙂 Here is the link if you would like to listen.
Praise You Audio: