If there is anything that blogging has taught me, it’s that we all have a story to tell. Some of us use words, some images, and some video. Some of us make beautiful things, or show the Internet the spaces we’ve carved for ourselves in our own homes, sharing the work we do every day and our thoughts on the subject. Finally we have an audience for what Edith Schaeffer calls “The Hidden Art of Homemaking.” As we write about our lives we often come to see our story in a new way.
One of the most surprising aspects of blogging, for me, is the way my story changed with the telling. All of us live in a story. The scholarly types refer to it as a meta-narrative. A meta-narrative is the over arching plot by which we make sense of the story of our lives. It encompasses everything. That’s how it’s possible for 3 different people, with very similar lives to believe very different things about themselves. Just glance at a random selection of mommy blogs if you don’t believe me. One mother at home with toddlers will write as though she is in a tragedy, mourning the change of life she is faced with. Another believes she is in a comedy and writes accordingly. Still another thinks she is participating in an epic adventure with lofty goals for raising children.
It’s a common joke that blogging is cheaper than therapy because we find that it often can serve that purpose. We find a community, we share our hurts and triumphs, and we feel less alone. But something else is happening too. Something I can only describe as miraculous. As many blog, and read the blogs of others, our meta-narrative begins to change.
For example, when I started blogging at least 50% of my outlook was tragic. I had a lot of company. It was great to find people who understood and I felt less alone. But there were all these people who shared the same kind of life as mine, and their perspective on it was completely different. It fascinated me. I would go to their blogs on hard days and just read through their archives because these were women who seemed to have a secret, to know something I didn’t. Sometimes they would say things that offended me, because I disagreed. But I found their stories compelling, and beautiful, so I kept going back. What I didn’t know was that it was changing me. The act of telling my story, within the context of other similar stories, was causing me to reexamine mine. I finally had the kind of perspective I previously lacked, and that perspective shaped me for the better.
Then I read Anne Voskamp’s post on gratitude. She wrote about how recording a list of things she was thankful for changed her life. But it was this sentence that burned it’s way into my consciousness and worked into me a deep understanding. “My list is different than another's for a reason: God has made me uniquely me. The Gift List is about gratitude... but it is more. It is about what defines me and my own personal identity.”
I started to keep my own list. I began to write my story differently. I thought of the legacy I might leave for my children one day. I began to choose the story I would tell. That’s part of finding a blogging voice; the choices we make about the story we will tell. Choosing my story changed me. Choosing how we tell our stories can change us.
I will be forever grateful to the blogging community for being an instrument by which God showed me the beauty in my own life, and in the lives around me.
Where else can we find such diverse and inspiring stories at the click of a button than through blogs?
Sure, it’s fun, or we wouldn’t do it. And yes, the idea of making money and getting stuff is exciting. So too, for some, the rosy dream of being a published writer. But I am convinced that the heart and soul of blogging is the stories we tell, and the stories we read, that change us and make us more than we knew was possible. That is why I will keep blogging, whether I ever become “successful” or not. For what I have gained, and what I have to give cannot be measured by such terms.