Excerpt from October 2016 Reader’s Digest, “Down Off The Cross,” by Debra Jarvis, a chaplain and cancer survivor.
“Let’s say I meet you on a bus. We really hit it off, but I’ve got to exit soon, so you’re going to tell me three things about yourself that help me understand who you are, that get at your essence.”
Note from Marlene: Prompt: List three things that define you.
Back to the article:
“Of those three things, is one of them surviving some kind of trauma, like being a cancer survivor, a war survivor, or an abuse survivor?”
Note from Marlene: Or perhaps you are currently experiencing a difficulty or a trauma.
Back to the article: “Many of us tend to identify ourselves by our wounds.
Claim your experience; don’t let it claim you.
The way to cope with trauma, loss, or any other life-changing experience is to find meaning. But here’s the thing: No one can tell us what that meaning is. We have to decide what it means. And that meaning can be quiet and private—we don’t need to start a foundation, write a book, or work on a documentary. Instead, perhaps we make one small decision about our lives that can bring about big change.
If you find yourself repeating your survivor story: Get down off your cross.
When you repeat your survivor story, you aren’t processing your feelings—you are feeding them.
Let your old story go so that a newer, truer story can be told about who you are.
Claim your trauma as an experience instead of taking it on as your identity.
It could mean the end of being trapped by your wounds and the start of defining yourself by who you are becoming.
We’re all on this bus together. What story are you going to tell?”
Note from Marlene: Prompt: Write a new story about what defines you.