Story work

I have been invited to speak at a dinner on the topic, embracing our stories. I have been reflecting on what to share for the last few weeks and feel compelled to return to writing. Now I know I have said that before and have been bold in declaring it here, but the last year has been a tough one for me in a variety of ways, including writing.

The story of the last year is so much more than grief and sorrow, but it definitely has included that in significant ways. I have learned that losing my Dad has been a very different grief journey than losing my brother. It is not about easier or harder, but different.

As I have begun reflecting and writing about what I want to share about embracing our stories, I find myself often reflecting on my own early story work. At that time, in my late 20’s, I was an either/or thinker. I was invited to consider that as long as I believed that most things were either/or, it would be close to impossible to explore my God-given story.

I was then invited to consider that perhaps most of life is both/and. That indeed my experience could hold a variety of feelings, even about the same experience. This felt foreign to me as I considered the way my mind felt that two conflicting emotions were not welcome into my way of thinking/feeling.

Over the years, as I allowed myself to consider this possibility, I have experienced the freedom to put words to so much of what my heart holds. The process of embracing both joy and sorrow, both love for people and a need to be alone, both a deep ache in friendship and holding hope for redemptive spaces, and so much more, has given me a passion for being attentive to my story almost every day.

But in this last year, I lost sight of my both/and in my writing. When I have sat down to write, I have felt a tension that if I write about the good, I will not be true to my sorrow and if I write about the sadness, I will not be honest about all the goodness that surrounds me. And to consider writing about both felt difficult as well. And so I did not write.

Image result for Brene Brown quotesAs we approach the first anniversary of my Dad’s death, I am aware that I have stories I want to write, I have experiences I want to share, I have memories I want to record. I want to reflect on the depth of the last year but also about what today and tomorrow, next month and next year might be shaping up like. I want to return to honoring the many spaces of life that are within me. I want to give my story the time, tenderness, embrace and voice that it deserves.

I have a heart that aches deeply and tears that flow often.

I have a heart that celebrates life and experiences deep joy and feels an abundance of gratitude.

I have a heart that is curious about where God is at work in my story and also so acutely aware of God’s faithfulness and provision.

I have a full heart…

Blessed be His name!



Author: trishborgdorff

I am on a life long journey to live with integrity, honesty, kindness and full of grace.

3 thoughts on “Story work”

    1. Thank you my friend, I am gathering my other thoughts for you in an email that will arrive tomorrow before bedtime. I will check the fax at the office first thing in the morning and let you know.

  1. Good afternoon Trish;
    Thank you for your article about your journey during the past year.
    I read it with lots of memories, thoughts, & questions. Our family has had a tough couple weeks again. Our son, Andrew & wife Sarah have the most loveable darling little 2 ½ year old son, Logan. Logan has Downsyndrome. They were just blessed two weeks ago on April 18th with the birth of their 2nd child, Natalie Faith Schippers. April 18th is the anniversary of the day our grandson Gerritt Baas entered Heaven. So it’s a day of mixed feelings. Natalie was born with only a right side of her heart. No left side. She has had 3 major surgeries already. She is in DeVos childrens hospital for which we are very thankful for what the doctors are able to do. Natalie’s condition is “fair” they are monitoring her constantly for oxygen levels in her blood. They have rerouted artery’s to the top Right side and enlarged a valve from the top right to the lower bottom right so one side of the heart is doing the work. All this is in hopes of not having to have a heart transplant. We are on our knees constantly.
    This past Saturday morning Sarah, became very ill. Andy took her to the E R of Butterworth hospital which is connected to DeVos Childrens hospital. She was admitted immediately and diagnosed with Sepsis. This is very serious. As of now, Monday afternoon, they have her stabilized and she is feeling better. However she will remain on heavy medications for a few weeks.
    Andrew is beside himself, he just talked to me on the phone. He said, “I don’t know how or what to pray for dad, nothing goes the way I ask or would like”
    As a father my heart breaks, I would do anything for our kids and grand kids but am left feeling helpless as well. So I stay on my knees. Trusting . As the song says, I am living by Faith, not by sight. But I also include in my conversations to God, >> > “WHY “

    Stay strong. Your dad, brother and Gerritt have actually seen Jesus ! I can only imagine !
    Jim Schippers
    (Bethany )


    D 616.820.7241
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