“Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty.” Elie Weisel
Some people wonder why I share my story. I have received criticism for being a truth teller. Growing up I received much more than criticism for speaking Truth but while they may have temporarily silenced me at the time, I could not and would not keep the silence.
I know how important it is to share healing stories and yesterday I received a powerful affirmation of the work that I do to spread a message of healing, hope and possibility.
Rewind to 2011 when I was answering inquires from HARO, Help a Reporter Out. I responded to Rick Smith's query about wanting inspirational stories for his book, Now: Embracing the Present Moment. I had completely forgotten that I contributed to it and that it was ever published.
But a 65 year old woman in Florida just happened to check out the book from her local library, found my story and "felt compelled" to reach out to me. She shared her struggles with me in elegant and eloquent detail and went on to say, "Lest you think I'm totally negative and full of self-pity, my saving grace has been my faith in God. On good mornings I spend a couple of hours in 'quiet time'. Most of that is reading. Anything inspirational, motivational, self-help. Whatever can fill my head with anything positive. Reasons to continue living. That was what led to my checking out that book from the library, and that was what led me to your story. And I get reminders all the time of 'synchronicity'. That there are no accidents in God's universe"
"Your story! Thank you so much. To imagine that you suffered through a terrible childhood illness, and then family abuse on top of that. And then when it seemed you had overcome all that, only to contract post illness...."
"Thank you for writing about the importance of slowing down and living in the present moment. Of appreciating life. Of creativity and the power of poetry. Thank you for sharing your courage, and your resilience. Especially for your account of running the Boston Marathon. How wonderful! ..."
She went on to highlight what parts of my story that I shared in Rick's book resonated with her and closed with, "Thank you for your story. And through your blog and Facebook page, and through your books you continue to inspire so many. And that is another lesson that I've learned from adversity. We just never know how our lives will impact others, whether it's through a "big" and obvious challenge like a physical disability, or whether it's through just a small gesture of kindness. We are, after all, interconnected, aren't we? Well please keep up the good work. And I will say a prayer for you that you will continue to be an inspiration for others and that God will fill you with peace. Your prayers for me, also would be much appreciated.
Like so many who survived childhood rape, I was told if you tell anyone I will kill you. When I spoke Truth I was told that I was fresh and was severely abused. My brother was rageful after I spoke Truth at my nephew's memorial service following his suicide but the presiding Minister brought me healing and comfort telling me that if I had not said what I said she would have been moved to do so.
Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell his story. It's my duty ... it's my duty to continue to share my healing story that is now a story of joy and triumph. I am deeply moved, honored and humbled by this remarkable woman who took the time to seek me out and send me a letter 5 years after I published my story in Rick's book. It's each of our duty to share our healing stories for we never know how we may save or change a life when we do.
To your health and wellness,