Tell Me Your Story

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.                                                                                                                               Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)

As I was watching the news this morning about the devastating hurricane which hit Louisiana the other day, I saw some heartbreaking interviews. One man, who had just lost his home, was in tears, but bravely said, “We’ll come back, we always do”.

I thought back many years to the devastating tornado in Xenia, Ohio. It was, in fact April 3, 1974. That was a day named the “Day of the Killer Tornadoes”. That day, tornadoes of high magnitude ravaged the Midwestern part of the United States. Many cities were greatly damaged. Few were hit as hard as Xenia, where 33 people died, and over 1300 were injured.

I was working then at the State Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, which is just west of Xenia. We were called on to help deliver some emergency counseling services to survivors of the recent trauma. Many of the victims were in shock, and we wondered what we could do as counselors to help these people. It became apparent that what we could do was listen to their stories. That was about all we could do, but it was helpful. People just needed to express what they had just been through. We had no good answers, no magic solutions for people who had just been through a trauma we could not ourselves understand. We could just listen.

Everyone can benefit from just being encouraged to tell their story. Indeed, we all have a story. No matter the experiences we have had, no matter how dramatic or mundane that story might be, it is important. That is the message that we deliver- “Your story is important!

We as human beings are developing a life story. None of us should take the value of that story for granted.

Prayer: Lord, help us to make our story valuable to you and other people, Amen

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