Pause the Story

Aug 14 7:54pm – It all began on Thurs May 10.  See the picture below.  Early in the morning – we had to get up with the birds to beat the traffic on NB I95 in order to make our appointment at Sentara Heart and Vascular Center for a fairly standard cardiac catheterization.  The lab in the picture is right behind Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge.  This day – May 10 – would be the last day that Regina would carry her big, blue bag and wear her light blue jacket.  

And the rest of the 90 days since May 10 have been recorded here…on Stimple.  Stimple has been my outlet, my way of keeping you updated, my way to sort out thoughts and feelings, my way to make amends with the world.

Many of you have walked along with me every step of the way – through the hopes and through the disappointments.  Regina followed along for awhile – she liked to see what I would put up each day.  For her, I think, Stimple became something of a travelogue of experiences for her and about her.  She didn’t mind.

And while she – for a time – and I focused almost exclusively on ‘us’ during the last 90 days, the last few weeks have reminded me – first – of how significant all of this has been for me, but also – second – just how minute my story is in the greater and grander scheme of living and life.

My story is one of thousands and millions and maybe even billions of stories every day.  Each story has its own arc – its own stasis, trigger, journey, decisions, climax, and resolution.  Any good story has these attributes.  My story has all of these – my story is really, really a good story because it follows the classic story-telling method.  Yours likely is a really good story, too.

But in spite of how good my story is and how long I might be able to keep telling it (if I wanted to do this), I have found that telling and retelling my story shades me from your stories.  And while, perhaps, we all have an opportunity or two under the sun to tell our amazing life stories, I have slowly come to realize that my story is reaching a critical resolution – it now enters into a new chapter.  A new stasis.  And, likely, another story is beginning.  

I think my story needs to be put on pause a bit so I can hear your stories.

Here is the thing.  While I have been working on my story, I have been missing your story.  More and more, I am wanting to hear your story, your experiences, your thoughts and dreams and disappointments and adventures.  It isn’t all about me, after all.

So, I am going to step back from Stimple for awhile.  I am not done mourning and grieving – I will begin Griefshare in several weeks.  There is still much I have to work though in my heart and mind.  But I believe I have an excellent support system in place and I will be reaching out for many, many months until this grieving can be less of a burden and more of an opportunity.

Anyway, I have said enough for now.  I want to hear from you.  I have been doing all of the talking – I want to hear what you have to say.  I now welcome some dialogue and some sharing back at me.

For example, Brian is now on his way to California after surviving a gun attack in Afghanistan.  This is important – we need to talk about it, pray about, and support Brian and Katelynn.  Some of you are dealing with marriages that are just about on the rocks – we need to talk really soon.  Others are dealing with cancer and chemo and pain and uncertain futures – let’s talk.  A few, I know, are having a hard time making ends meet – let’s talk about it.  Some of our kids are going off to college with seemingly little direction and purpose other than somehow wanting to have some fun – we need to dialogue about this as parents.  Our kids are wrapped up in angst, questions, identity issues, online relationships, and so many things that Satan puts out there that makes it really hard for our kids to keep their heads screwed on.  Some special people out there have lost their spouses sometime in the last few years – I really want and need to talk with you.  One of you is taking care of your mother – who is not eating and is refusing medications – and everyone is pretty much waiting for when she passes from this life.  Let’s talk!  

You have inexpressible happiness in your life?  I want to talk with you and learn from you.  You suffer from situational or clinical depression – we really should have a conversation.  You good with our faith and with God and with grace, mercy, and peace – please, please reach out to me and let’s talk.  You good – or not – with the wars and famine and pestilence in the world?  I could sure use some conversation about this stuff.

I would love to talk with you about how you are patient, angry, trusting, frustrated, hopeful, desperate.  I want to talk about God – what he has done for you or, perhaps, what you think he hasn’t done for you.

Let’s pick a time.

And if you like, I can tell you some or all of my story from the last 90 days.  It’s a good story – but I think and am realizing that we all have stories that need to be told.  Some of us are in the opening chapters of a new story and some of us are in the final chapters of an old story – but regardless there is something to be talked about for the benefit of you and me.

I’m not going anywhere – I will be right here.  And, yes, I will pop up here on Stimple occasionally but, now, with less frequency.

And here is my hope – I want to hear from you.  A real conversation.  I won’t use Facebook or Twitter or messaging for the conversation – we can’t hide behind the technical and social facade of these methods of communication and expect to be honest with each other.  

Rather, I would like to use long emails or letters or even lunches or dinners or phone calls.  

I have many stories to tell.  So do you. Let’s do it. Let’s talk to each other – not at each other.

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