Illuminating Our Darker Stories

Human experiences, even in the darkest of times, still create hope

It has been quite a year. A year that no one could have predicted. A global pandemic, pivotal elections, racial injustice, climate change, etc. No one could have known how dark the world would become, the extent to which our humanity would be tested and how, thankfully, the power of personal stories would serve to illuminate the darkness.

A recent email from the amazing poet Silvi Alcivar offered an insight into the nature, and the benefit, of embracing that which has always existed in our world.

"and i keep thinking about how all the darkness of these days is really showing us where there is light, who holds it, what we have to offer of our own, and how the darkness seems to have a necessary place too. the moon knows this. and the stars. and the roots wintering in earth. and the creatures no one has ever seen who live in depths of ocean humans will never touch. and the dark itself." ~Silvi Alcivar

Her words reminded me of the role of darkness plays within the frame of storytelling. Many of us shun the negatives that life sends our way. Yes, denial is always an option. Some complain. Others protest. I question. The nature of such darkness confuses me. I’m not sure where to place it, yet the darkness seems to have a necessary place too.

So I listen. Listen to all the stories arising / emerging / emanating from that darkness.

Since March a long list of friends, family and strangers have shared stories of loss, of disappointment, of dreams dashed or progress stalled. Stories shot through with the feeling of unnerving uncertainty. One step forward, three steps back. Where to next?

Yet these stories also contained a revelation, an ah-ha moment, a point of light. While I’m hard-pressed to pull out the tired expression silver lining, there it is. Appreciation for what we have to be thankful for. Friends, family, even strangers. Through story we are given a source of illumination that can help us, and others, envision a way forward.

If you have such a story, one in which you came to see the world around you in a more profound way, please capture it, and use the cathartic process of storytelling to reveal the ways in which you, or someone you know, illuminated the darkness. Then share it with others who are struggling to find their path into 2021.

Need some narrative inspiration? Here are three beautiful stories from the folks over at Radio Diaries that capture the emotions and wisdom found within this time we’re calling pandemic.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. If so, please share your wisdom and insights below. And don’t forget to subscribe. You can also find me on LinkedIn and Twitter, or even drop me a line with any thoughts or questions you may have about your storytelling.