Each of us has a story that helps us understand how we got here and where we are headed, shared Lucinda Miller, the Thursdays at the U speaker on Feb. 22 at UW Center-Barron County.
The audience, with standing room only, heard that not only are we shaped by our stories but each person’s story is relatable to every other story.
Miller’s story is one of growing up in a Christian family where living out their faith is their top priority.
While perhaps more distinctive than many of the other subcultures within our culture as a whole, the Mennonite said her story is relatable to the stories of many of her friends—an Objiwe woman, an atheist woman, a Somali immigrant who left the Muslim faith to become a Christian, a Hindu couple, First Nation also called the bush people of Canada, even a wealthy white woman in Pittsburg who is trying to live a simple lifestyle.
“Somewhere along the way I figured out that nobody is typical,” Miller said.
Yet she finds common bonds in her diverse friendships—every human feels pain and love and can find basic areas upon which to relate if we would only try.
Miller maintains that depression stems from an incoherent story, a life story gone awry. She has read that the number one predictor of emotional well-being is knowing one’s family history.
“Stories complete us,” she said. “They help us understand our life.”
That being so, she maintains simply talking and sharing of our individual stories can be a cure for depression that works better than medicine or behavioral therapy.
Miller said she gasped when she first heard her dad’s story of how as a kid, he hated being Mennonite, ended up in foster care and eventually found his way back to the Mennonite faith.
“That story made a huge impact on my life,” she said. The speaker acknowledged that she has had her own doubts about having faith foremost in her life as she sees it as colliding with any dream of becoming a famous author.
Available for purchase were her adult paperback, called “Anything But Simple: My Life as a Mennonite” and her newly-released children’s hardcover called “The Arrowhead,” based on a story her dad told her.
When young, Miller’s parents both made-up stories and read stories like the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series. She also held up other books of stories that have shaped her life and writing.
The author and storyteller said above all, the Bible has influenced who she is, what she thinks and what she writes.
She said when read from beginning to end, the Bible is a coherent narrative that like all stories has a beginning, middle and end. It tells where we came from (made in the image of God), what is our purpose (love your neighbors as yourselves) and what happens when we die (wrongs will be righted).
To read more of her stories, find her blog online. Miller describes it as such: “On this blog, I write about my love affair, my sprawling close family, the unusual and intriguing people God brings into my life, and funny stuff. Once in a while I write about being Mennonite. So nice to have you here! Step right on in.”