Last week I read a post by a young woman on a blog that I follow. She was telling her story about a friendship with a man that hadn’t ended the way she hoped. She was honest and open and so beautifully vulnerable in her writing. Below the post was comment after comment reaffirming this woman’s story and offering encouragement and caution to those who may be experiencing a similar story. I read comments from women who had lived through the same, who felt this woman’s pain and heartbreak. Even my sister read the piece and nodded in agreement. She saw the truth in what was written.
What I saw was a story that ran contrary to my own. I read a story that was not my story, not even close. My story goes against everything this young woman had written, and to see so many people reaffirming her story left a hole in my heart. Where does that leave me? I thought to myself. What about the life I’m living? Where does my story fit into the greater scheme, or is it meant to be left out in the forgotten recesses of aberrations?
Because I felt as if my story lacked truth in the face of her story. Hers seemed more true than mine, justified and seconded by strangers who told me she was right. So did that mean I was wrong? That my story was somehow untrue? My story felt less real, less valuable. The life I was living became almost worthless in the shadow of her seemingly better story.
But I can’t undo my story. In my heart and in my world, I am still living it. And no one can tell me it’s not true, not definitively, because each day I am proof that my story is real. Just as real as her story and the countless others like it. And it is just as true.
There is a difference between true and Truth. I realized this as I read this woman’s experience. I know my story is true, because it is my life. It happens every day. And your story is true in precisely the same way. As you move about in this world, you write your own story. And no one can take that away from you.
Yet, this does not make our stories Truth, not absolutely. Because if my story was Truth, it would require an untruth, an opposite. It would mean your story would be rendered false in the face of my Truth. It would mean that different experiences would conflict in such a way to make one person’s worth more that another person’s. It places value on some while others would come up lacking. It would erase some stories as others shined brighter in their Truth.
And to erase someone’s story is to erase their soul. It is to take what gives them beauty and worth and meaning and purpose and to say there is no place for it. It is not needed. It is superfluous.
My story is true, but it isn’t Truth. It’s not absolute. It won’t always be universal. It most certainly is not gospel.
Your story will always have worth, your story will always be beautiful. And I know this because our stories come from a different place. Your story is not my story. They cannot be the same, because we are not the same. But I am not more important than your story. I am not better. I am not more right. It’s not my purpose to be right. I’m here to listen, to hear, to try and understand what you’ve been through and to love you because of it.
I am merely one among billions, a lone voice crying out. I know what I know, but I can never know everything. I’m not meant to. So God gave us each a story, a different one for us alone. He created us each knowing a different side of who He is with the intention of us better knowing Him through our unique experiences. I know my God loves me. But it is utterly beautiful to see how He loves you. He’s shown you things I’ll never see, told you things I’m not able to hear, but I feel Him when I hear what you’ve been through and where you came from. I know He is Truth, because of the life you have and the story you tell.
The moment someone tells you your story isn’t worth telling, you may start to believe it. But it isn’t true. It’s never true. It can’t be, because you are the only person in the entire world living your story. No one else can see what you see and hear what you hear. You are absolutely the only person who knows what you know. Your life is infinitely powerful, because there is no other person living it. And that’s why your story will always matter. Because it is the only one like it.
Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.