I haven’t written many stories myself, but I can understand that part of the joy of writing a story, of creating anything, is engaging the imagination. The “this-can-be-anything-I-want-it-to-be” factor. We get to dream: “What could this be? What could this look like? How could it feel or taste or sound?” And then we get to try to arrive at that place. What joy! To make something that involves our senses of creativity, of wonder and imagination and beauty and invention. I see this as one of the great privileges in knowing people and the stories of their lives. What’s truly unique about our stories, as different from the fictional stories I enjoy reading, is that they’re happening now. What has happened has happened already; it’s done and over. But it is only written up to this moment. What extends beyond, where the story will go, hasn’t been decided. Or at least it can yet be altered. And this is where I see creativity and imagination enter our lives. We can ask people, “What could be? What do you want to be?” We get to dream with people about how their stories could continue. Certainly what has happened up to this point has a profound effect, but there is so much room for HOPE! And we have this honor of dreaming with people, of helping people see things differently, of imagining a life different from what they’ve had so far. I love this. I love having HOPE, of helping people to see HOPE for themselves, of having new places for their story to go… and then helping to figure out how to get there. This involves a great amount of trust, of pain, of disappointment at times. Of giving and receiving grace. Of failure.
The question that I often think about is: What does HOPE look like? Is it singing at the top of your lungs, unashamed? Is it having your kids with you? Is it being able to look someone in the eye?
As I think about this and even write about it, I realize that these are beliefs I’ve had primarily for other people. Certainly I dream about this HOPE for people I meet whose stories have led to major life crises, and equally for friends who I carry in my heart. But now I’m realizing (finally!) that if this HOPE is for all of us, then it MUST be for me too. Wow. This is a life-altering realization: that my life, our lives, are still a story-being-written. We can have HOPE – creativity and imagination – for where our stories will go. And we can dream with each other about what they may be. In fact, I would say I desperately need others to dream with me about my story, and that others need my creativity to imagine what is to come for them as well.
— Anne Wilson