Story Made Alive

In Spirituality by Caris Adel10 Comments

To try and talk about STORY somehow seems like a desecration of the holy time that it was.  I almost feel like it’s one of those things I should keep private about, but I also know what a source of hope this would have been for me to read about it at a different point in my life.  I know this will give me hope later on in the dry spells.

What made the experience so special wasn’t listening to Bob Goff tell stories about living an extravagantly loving life.  It wasn’t Erwin’s inspiring ‘you can create the future’ talk.  It wasn’t hearing the advice over and over again that creating is hard work, messy work, that we need to do it for God alone.  That businesses will rise and fall, names will be come famous and infamous and maybe we will never know how our work will affect someone.  We are to be faithful to the call.  All of that was inspiring and even fun to listen to.

But what made the trip so amazing was listening to my favorite band sing.  It was realizing Addie was next to me, falling in love with the beautiful lyrics.  Music transcends ourselves and entering the holy space of music and lyrics together was deeply spiritual.

It was spending time with avatars, the beings behind beautiful blog posts and interesting tweets.  To sit face to face with people who write and understand the struggle it is, to be inspired by the people who are talking about agents and proposals.  To listen to their frustration when it isn’t working out and the process is so much more complicated than we’d think.  I just sat there and thought ‘but you’re doing it.”  I don’t have to be somebody before I can do something.  I already am somebody and I was created to do something.

Sitting for hours with Danielle and her husband and talk about life and theology and feminism… heart was so full.  I have one friend I talk like that with, but it’s been months since we’ve had time to have a good conversation. That kind of talking is so life-giving.

I sat at lunch and talked with Brenna and had some ignorant and judgmental assumptions completely wiped away as she shared a particular story.  This is the power of story.  Not listening to speakers necessarily, but listening to each other.  There was 15-20 of us there, wandering the hallways, sitting in corners, at tables, and everywhere I went, I found a few people to sit with, to listen and talk.  There was no ‘I don’t understand how you can be a feminist.’  No ‘Rachel who?‘  No ‘I don’t understand why that speaker’s statement was offensive.’

And I don’t think you can chalk it up to ‘oh we’re just creative people’, for I’m sure there are some traditionally conservative people who are creative.  They are the ones putting out Christian art, the ones who probably would have been upset to hear people clapping and cheering when one speaker said “I believe in God, I don’t know if I believe in Christian art.”  Sitting in that space, knowing I was with people who understood……well, that was simply the best.  To be heard and understood, to be able to be with people who were just as sad about Rob Bell being gone from Mars Hill, to talk about how to make a living from writing, to walk around and see booths devoted to fair trade coffee and micro loans, to be able to roll my eyes at the Lifeway stand and not have to explain……… was just such a gift.

I felt like I could be myself, that I was with people who were like myself, and there was no explanation or qualifications needed.  I had been really nervous about going, but once I was there, and we were all there, sitting on the floor, talking, trying to bring our real selves to our internet images…..the nerves fled and it was simply grace, in the truest sense of the word.

I’ve only been writing for a few months, but that didn’t matter.  When you are with people who get you, your statistics and sales and struggles don’t matter.  When I started a blog to create a ‘platform’, I thought it was going to be a very impersonal act.  I didn’t know that a twitter list would turn into real friends.  I didn’t know that I would bond with people over duck confit and mango sangria.  I didn’t know that I would be sharing my story in a car while the rain came down and the Chicago skyline was beauty in the fog.  I certainly didn’t expect that I would be swearing away as I drove Rachel to her hotel.

But now I know.  These words we type are a fragment of who we are.  And they are beautiful and inspiring and they connect us to each other.  But the people behind the screen are even more beautiful and inspiring, and to connect with each other is story made alive.


Picture from Story taken by CreativeChurch and EthicMedia

Let's Connect! facebooktwitterpinterestrssinstagram
  • from two to one

    Beautiful writing, beautiful women. Agree that I never thought Twitter friends would become real life friends!

  • Tony J. Alicea

    Love this Caris! I totally agree. As inspiring as was the atmosphere and speakers, nothing was more memorable than to have those face to face discussions and translate those still shots into real people.

    • Caris Adel

      yes! Which is why I was kind of surprised that Story didn’t have an environment like that set up – a meeting area for writers, artists, filmmakers, etc…..seems like that would be a good place to connect with other people. If I had gone alone, without knowing so many people, I don’t think the experience would have been so rich.

  • perfectnumber628

    This is so cool! I hope someday I can also be real-life friends with other bloggers I’ve met on the interwebz.

    • Caris Adel

      I’ve met a few other people I’ve known for a long time online and every time it is so fun and special.

  • kim sullivan

    So glad you were all able to attend and be with one another. It’s incredible to meet up, isn’t it? In every case, I have found the folks I come to love via their posts and on twitter are even more wonderful in real life.

    • Caris Adel

      yes, they all were. And now I can read their posts with their voice in my head. It makes it all that much more real and meaningful.

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    Fantastic recap Caris. That’s how I felt last year after my first time at STORY. It was totally fantastic to find people doing the same kind of stuff and who “got me” and what I care about. I’m excited to see which directions you’ll go now that you know you’re not the only crazy one. :)

    And how cool was Rachel to share so freely from her own writing experiences? I’m so glad there are people like Kristin who can organize social gatherings so well!

    • Caris Adel

      I know. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without being able to connect with people without being rushed by the bells!

  • Kristin T.

    I love this, Caris, and I loved meeting the real YOU behind these beautiful words—”story made alive,” indeed!

    This is truth: ” I don’t have to be somebody before I can do something. I already am somebody and I was created to do something.” I’m so thankful that truth is flooding you.