Baz Gascoyne reflects on how telling your life story can help others.

Baz Gascoyne
Baz Gascoyne

A couple a weeks ago Linda & I went to the Sharrow market here in Sheffield which happens about three times a year. Dozens of stall holders come out in all weathers to sell their products. Food, drinks, art work, crafts, pottery are bought by hundreds of people from across the city.

One of the stall holders was selling her leather products, from bags to small bracelets. I saw a brown leather wrist band with the words 'This is my Story' inscribed on. It got me thinking of some work I had been asked to do recently in which I had to write down my major life events which have had positive and negative effect on my life. So I bought the wrist band to remind me that my story is valid.

I love what Philip Pullman said about stories: "After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the things we need most in the world."

The more I spend time with people and hear their story the more I realise that everyone's story is valid and needs to be heard as this can and will help others in their time of need. "Your heartache is someone else's hope. If you make it through, somebody else is going to make it through. Tell your story."

It can take a lot of courage to share your story but as you do, it could well be the story that someone else is waiting to hear, which could bring hope into their heart and mind.

"Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else's survival guide," said Morgan Nichols.

I think this is one of the reason I love to read biographies or auto-biographies: to learn how various people have experienced the good, bad & ugly and still have managed to achieve something in and with their lives.

I fondly remember listening to my Gran & Grandad retell stories with other family members of their childhood, family and their early married life; and their stories of two of their children's experiences in the Second World War, sometimes with tears, including the amazing story of their oldest son shot down in a plane over enemy lines and being told that he was missing presumed dead.

Three months later my Uncle turned up at my Gran's house alive and kicking. He had managed to jump out the plane before it crashed, but during his escape his head was hit on the back wing and when he landed broke both legs. He was found unconscious by two nuns and taken into a convent and looked after for three months until he recovered.

"Tears are words that need to be written" Paul Coelho said. No doubt many tears were shed by my Gran & Grandad, family and friends during those three months and later during the numerous retellings of the story.

Telling your story can help others. We all have a different life story and they all need to be heard. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.