the stories we tell

So many recent discussions have been dominated by the topic of stories and storytelling. And I am reminded that all we, as humans, are is story. Not one single story, but an amalgamation of the stories that surround us, the stories we tell ourselves and our community and the story we so desperately (and we do desperately) want to live every day.

Over the past few months the practice of storytelling has taken on a different twist for me. It is much less about selling or justifying work, and much more about  the thoughts of legacy. As my grandfather's health begins to decline, I am struck by the stories he has told his family and friends, the stories he has told himself and the story he has so poignantly lived.

I wonder what we will tell our own families in the days, months and years to come about this man who, as my mother, his eldest daughter, said, has lived the life of five men. Will we choose to talk of his bravery in war or the trauma it rendered deep into his soul? Will we choose to talk of long days in the mountains or his undying love for his burgeoning business? Will we choose to talk of the gold mine, the horse racing, the farm or the store? Will we be that dichotomous in our sharing of his legacy? 

I hope we tell a complex story; one that thoroughly honors the man who lived it. That we delve deeply into his character and share his many lessons with those around us.

Countless hours of lunch time conversations surrounding current events and weekends spent on the couch watching The Duke save the good-ole American West created a deep bond and abiding love between us. I know the theme songs to Bonanza and Gunsmoke by heart. And my love of football is most certainly his doing. I can ride a horse, inspect gemstones and make the family-secret turkey stuffing, thanks to him.

I often see him staring back at me in the mirror (we will blame that on the blonde hair and green eyes) and I know I see him in my desire to work in public service. The same can be said for my love of the mountains and my new-found love of the ocean. I know that combination is the most current rendition of the story he left to me to share. I hope I do it justice in the time to come.