Friday, February 13, 2004

Stories and Air

I'm fascinated by White's "unique outcomes" and Savage's "unspoken elements." Both are talking about the importance of what's missing when we tell our stories. White believes that people become stuck in their stories--they are limited by other peoples' stories about them or unable to see possibilities in limiting stories they've adopted about themselves. I can't do anything but sit in this hospital bed or His depression is controlling my life--and there's nothing I can do about it.

Savage says that underlying all the themes in a person's story are meanings opposite what's being stated, and the person is always in a tension between the two. Yesterday I was connected to her; today I'm not or He 's having trouble believing I don't have long to live can mean I know I'm going to die.

I'm amazed that there is so much information in every encounter--there are multiple levels of communication going on all the time. I have known this for years but it is hitting me in a new way. The amount of data and emotion is astounding. We tell about ourselves literally all the time. We want to be known. We may think we hide; we may think we have control of what we communicate about ourselves, but we don't, thank God. I think that's because we truly want to be known.

I have been trying to tune my ear to hear peoples' stories, to grasp what's under them, to minister to the need that presents itself. But it's another level of challenge to be conscious of the air around us, to sense what's not being said, which alternatives haven't been explored, where stories are blocking the possibilities that might emerge if they could be named and invited out.


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