There are a couple of people who questioned my motives in telling the story of the bus crash. The questioners are not intimately involved in any aspect of what happened on April 10, 1997, nor are they people who know much about me. Those who know my heart would never ask a question like that in the first place.
The notion that someone would think I was attempting to profit on the most horrific event in my life kept me from writing my book sooner than I did. It’s a repulsive thought, actually. I wasn’t surprised that someone asked about it; I was more surprised that more people didn’t ask about it.
I came to the conclusion in the days before I finally wrote the book that I couldn’t not write it. Unravel that statement. I kept turning to scripture and encountering people who tried to run in the opposite direction from where God wanted them. Each of them ultimately found themselves exactly where God wanted them. Think Jonah how he tried to go to Tarshish and ended up puked up on the shores of Nineveh. I believe that in the telling of the story, I was acting in obedience to the highest power of all.
And in the telling, I saw grace and redemption and love and healing and peace. Not for me. I already had mine. I saw it for others. I saw it for people who hadn’t talked about that day for two decades and for a family who lost their world that day.
I didn’t pull any punches either. In the telling of the story I laid bare my own vulnerabilities and my own journey through chemical dependency and trauma recovery. Many of the pieces and parts of the story are horrific and ugly. But I am not ashamed of my story or my journey. It took everything that happened to see me standing here today, and where I am is a beautiful place.
Storytelling is the most powerful tool ever granted to people. It’s the sharing of our experiences, of our ordinary and mundane, of our extraordinary and horrifying, of our hopes and our failures that connects us one to another.
One of my favorite authors is Brene Brown and she has much to say about storytelling and sharing vulnerability and connecting with others. She wrote: “the irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness – even our wholeheartedness – actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.”
As for the story I told? I didn’t tell it to profit on a tragedy, but to prevent more like it. I feel like that’s a job well done.