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I’ve been reading Erica Bauermeister’s delightful book, The Lost Art of Mixing.   It’s not the greatest piece of literature ever written.  The storyline is simple and uncomplicated, but her use of language and word pictures are heartwarming and vivid.  The Lost Art of Mixing is one of those books that leaves you feeling hopeful about the future and people in general.  It reminds us we can live happily within the confines of our brokenness as we come to know and love ourselves and others by sharing and listening to each other’s stories.  

      I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that I love words.  Nothing brings me more pleasure than a well-written book.  I can get lost in the dance of words, discussions in which big words shoot across my mind like stars lighting up the sky.  I can get lost in descriptions so vivid I paint pictures in my mind.  Words will sneak past my defenses, touching something so deep I find tears streaming down my cheeks.

      No matter how commonplace or exciting, everyone’s life is filled with unique and amazing stories.  Nothing makes us feel more loved than having another welcome and affirm our stories.  Far too often, life has made us feel as if our lives are not as exciting or interesting as others …  which then causes us to negate our experiences and feelings.  Yesterday’s birthday party was such a high for me primarily because we found ourselves telling stories about how we met our husbands, how we host family gatherings, how we feel about growing old. Just by sharing our stories, invisible walls crumbled, and we experienced a new closeness.  It no longer mattered that we didn’t go to the same church, voted for the same political candidates, or had the same life experiences.  We were joined by common threads in our stories.

        My sister-in-law said her children gave her a long list of questions related to her growing up, family history, world events, etc.  They asked her to write down her responses to one question each week. She is finding joy in remembering and sharing her stories with her children and grandchildren.  She is finding comfort in, knowing they will better understand who she is and was through her stories which will not just give them a historical and emotional record of their family history but it is helping her know and better understand herself.      

Joyce Shutt is the author of Steps to Hope and is a veteran 12 stepper.

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