Storytelling and Our Relationship to Happy

Here we go again!

Lori, my sister, and I have been talking about telling stories.  Currently we are both working on getting a second degree – this time we are in the same program and it is fun.  We returned to school last fall (online of course) at BYUI to get an AA degree in Family History Research.  I have a lot to say about this, but right now I am writing about storytelling.  She sent me this link, Storyteller, which is a man named Donald Davis.  He is a storyteller…

The video tells the story of his papa who swung a sharp little axe right into his 5 yr-old knee cap and became crippled.  At 5 yrs-old his Mama told him to tell her the story.  He didn’t want to tell the story because it wouldn’t change anything.  “You are not telling the story to change what happened,” she replied, “you are telling the story to change YOU.”
She had him repeat the story over the years, each time with a different agenda.
“Tell the story and tell what you learned from living through it.”
“Tell the story and tell what you think your parents learned from living through it.”

When life gives you rocks…..

“Tell the story and tell what you think the doctors in Atlanta learned from living through it.”
She explained that if he didn’t tell the story enough he would be 50 years old, and each time he looked at his knee he would be five again and pitiful.
“Tell the story and tell what you get to do that your brothers don’t get to do.”  (Stay inside and read while they did the farm work.)
By the time he was 15 he felt that chopping his leg was the best thing that he had ever done.

More of Mama’s wisdom: When something happens to you, it sits on you like a rock.  If you don’t tell your story, it sits on you forever.  Telling your story helps you climb out from under the rock until eventually you climb up on top of it.

The story doesn’t change what happened to you.  The story has the power to change our whole relationship to Happy.

Most rocks are beautiful.

He is a southern man with a charming accent.  I loved it when he said “our whole relationship to Happy.”  Using “Happy as a noun” is great – I made it a proper noun just for fun.  He may actually have used a different word that I understood to be “Happy” and I am keeping it because I like it that much.
As I reflected on storytelling this week, my own story took a little twist.  Actually it was one of those steep drop-offs.  I know from experience that it seems to be bottomless, but there is a bottom – or maybe several ledge along the way.  And then… you climb your way out.  For me it is true that telling the story helps me to climb up.  If what the storyteller’s mama says it true – a rock just fell on us, and now we need to climb on top it.  It kind of seems that we are in a bit of a hailstorm of rocks lately – we just begin to climb and another lands on top…. I am envisioning those rock stacks that Mark enjoys creating.

When Kimberly is bored at
piano lessons….

Yesterday afternoon Greg returned to Salt Lake City for more testing.  Mark and I were in Portland at a meeting, but not sitting next to each other.  At one point I had the distinct impression that Greg had just been told he had cancer.  I felt this so strongly that I fought the urge to look at my watch – I didn’t want to be rude, but I wanted to confirm the time.  Afterward Mark told me that he had the same feeling; rather than looking at his watch, he glanced at me and knew I was having the same experience.  It was confirmed as I called our doctor.
We have one of those amazing and rare doctors who gives us his cell phone number and asks us to please call him.  He was at home, but took all the time we needed to discuss our new situation and options.  So here we go…
Greg has cancer.  It is not related to his past osteosarcoma (phew), nor to the treatment he received.  There is not a huge rush for treatment, but surgery needs to happen ASAP because of the size of the abdominal tumor.  As I sit here typing I got a text that it has been set for the 22nd of January.  This is actually a week later than I expected, so we have more time to plan.  I will plan to be there, and I believe that Mark has business meetings in Salt Lake around that time as well.  He will have a couple of weeks to recover before beginning chemotherapy.

Why I tell my story….

We don’t have chemo information yet.  The biopsy was completed after hours last night, so there was no staging, etc.  Also, Li Fraumeni tumors don’t obey the rules and often need treatments to be changed from what the normal population would receive.  The wonderful thing that they keep reassuring us is that he previous cancer, osteosarcoma, is very intense; and the treatment he had to undergo was even more so – so this will not compare.  It is serious, and it will not be fun – but we have a couple weeks to prepare.
Greg is scurrying to make decisions about school.  He was looking forward to completing his prerequisites to get into a business program (no more pre-med).  That will have to wait another semester, but we think that it is important to his psyche to keep doing
something.  Hopefully this will mean a class or two and keeping hours at work.  He had a week to prepare for this news – and he used it well to get over the discouragement.  He will be entering this adventure with a positive attitude, and  that will continue his positive relationship to Happy.

5 thoughts on “Storytelling and Our Relationship to Happy

  1. Oh, Corinne, I've been dreading this post. I was worried that it was on it's way. But once again you have lifted me in the process of sharing your difficult sorry. Thank you! You're in my prayers, as is Greg.


  2. Thank you for sharing your challenges with us. It isn't easy I am certain but I am grateful you do it gives me courage to continue to carry on. Our prayers are with you and your family.


  3. Once again, you have managed to lift up others as you, yourself are going through difficult times. The sign of a true disciple : ) Thank you again for your examples. I've emailed all the kids to make them aware so they can add their support to ours as we pray for Greg and your family. These words from a hymn came to my mind just now, seemed fitting to share them with you…..
    Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
    Our God will never us forsake;
    And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
    All is well! All is well!


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