A story worth telling.
I’m a story teller. It’s what I love to do. You could call it a passion. I tell stories about lots of things, from bible stories to historical stories to made-up stories (mainly about why I didn’t turn something into school on time). I believe that stories are the driving force behind all of our lives. We build a story so that one day in the future, another person can look back and tell it.
One story I don’t like to tell that often is my own. It’s a story with many twists and turns, many paragraphs, many high points, and many low points. But I am going to tell it. I am going to tell my personal story, the one I continue to write day in and day out. Eventually this story will be complete with an ending of its own. But here it goes:
I’ve always been a bit different. I’ve always had a different way of thinking and a different personality, and it took me awhile to understand this. My preschool teacher about summed it up perfectly when she told my mom and dad that they were “parents with a purpose” in raising me. These differences led to exclusion and the exclusion led to doubt in myself. The doubts in myself made me a vulnerable target, especially when I was smaller, and made me prone to getting pushed around some in private elementary school. My story at that point could’ve been summed up in seven words: “Loved by adults, despised by my peers.”
Eventually, I went to public school and was immediately received in a negative light. More of the same, I thought. Fifth grade came and with it came the school-wide rumors that I was gay. I suffered through it, hoping the entire time that I would just find some friends. Some people that cared about me. It was my dream. Sadly, I would have to wait three more years.
Eighth grade came along bringing what I thought were my first true, genuine relationships. People who I thought cared. People who I thought would be there for me. But then my grandmother got terminal lung cancer and it seemed like no one cared. People started a hate account about me on Twitter and it seemed like no one cared. Many of the friendships I made were toxic and they certainly didn’t care. At the end of the day, it all came down to this final thought: if no one cares about me, why should I care about me? Worst of all, my faith had collapsed. I had no God to turn to. I was lost.
And on this night, exactly one year ago, I sat on the edge of my bed crying. My depression had reached its lowest and worst point: I wanted to take my own life. I wanted to take the easy way out, to escape everything, to leave the people I thought didn’t care about me behind.
Luckily, I got the help I needed. I immediately learned two things: somebody out there does care, and somebody out there wants you here. I ran to an Andy Stanley series on restarting your life, called “Starting Over.” I ran to the scripture and found verses saying to “fear not” because God was near. I ran to what was a newer song at the time, Hillsong’s Oceans, and learned that God would guide me through the floods and downpours of life; all I had to do was call out His name. I started growing again.
Earlier, I said all stories have high points, and I’m finally there. This summer, I was finally able to describe myself as “happy.” This year, I’ve grown. I’ve reinstated my faith in God. I’ve learned to find people to do life with. I’ve begun to understand the art of praying. I’m a new person.
I tell my story not to brag about myself or my accomplishments. I tell my story because I know the feeling of being trapped in a tidal wave of life. I know it can be the worst thing to ever experience. I also know that there are far too many people out there who are dealing with similar circumstances. If you are that person, have the courage to step up and ask for help. Down the road, you will be so appreciative that you did.
The act of stepping out for help reminds me of a verse in Psalm 34, written by David, that describes a similar situation.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
My hope and prayer is that you hear that truth and rest in it. Your story will be far better off for it.