A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad IdeaWritten by Carol Rice
It was one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days – that lasted for a week.
Just like Alexander, the horrors of the week didn't amount to anything catastrophic. In fact, I would feel bad listing my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad stuff because it would belittle those who really are struggling with life-threatening pains and trials. #firstworldproblems But every day just kept bringing me something new to deal with, that seemed bigger than me and required mental, emotional, spiritual and even physical strength I felt I didn't have. It ranged from broken freezers with over $1,000 worth of food in it, an itchy, burny, achy spider bite, to our aging family dog using a corner of our house as a bathroom (Hello! She hasn't done something like that since she was a puppy!).
All week long, I asked myself, like any good martyr – WHY ME?
In fact, I think I got pretty good at thinking about ME, ME, ME.
Sitting at church on Sunday, taking the first deep breath of the week, and soaking in the strength of faithful people surrounding me, I had a moment of clarity. I realized I had spent the entire week turned inward, focused on little ole pitiful me. I looked down the bench at my family sitting with me and felt a wave of appreciation for the way each one of them had handled the events of the week. They had jumped in with help, encouragement and a sense of humor (even about a pile of – yeah, you know – left by our old girl). I glanced around at a congregation that included friends who had dressed my spidey wound, and saved some of our food making room in their own freezers. I saw people who had shown us love and support, and the real horror settled in – I failed to be truly grateful for all of them. Feeling sorry for yourself can do that; give you tunnel vision.
"Just as doubt, despair, and desensitization go together, so do faith, hope, and charity. The latter, however, must be carefully and constantly nurtured, whereas despair, like dandelions, needs so little encouragement to sprout and spread. Despair comes so naturally to the natural man!" (Neal A. Maxwell)
I'm dusting off the “poor baby” and determined to think a little more about others, pushing back the dandelions, so to speak. I forgot for a moment that one of the most powerful ways to connect, acknowledge and show love for another person, is to listen, to hear them, to share their stories. And that starts with a simple question.
So I'm starting a “campaign” of sorts – mostly for myself. Every day I will post a question. I will ask that question to a member of my family, someone I work with, a friend, a neighbor and maybe even a stranger.
My goal: by making #dailyconnections to have a #storymoment, we'll create a habit of #familystorytelling that will #sharegoodness instead of despair.
Ask the questions during car pool, a call at lunch, a text to a family member or friend during the day, post on social media, at dinner (or breakfast), bedtime... anytime!
I imagine I will still have some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days – but with my focus turned to others in a simple, meaningful way, I'll find the beauty, even in those days.
Try it with me – follow on instagram @familystorytelling and use the hash tags:
#dailyconnections #storymoment #familystorytelling #sharegoodness
so we can find each other easily, and let's be friends on facebook. We'll push back those dandelions together.
I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.
As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."
Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.
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