The Power of Story (Why iCarly Made Me Cry)

So the other night I watched the last episode of iCarly with my kids.  By the end of the show, I was in tears.  This is no surprise to anyone who knows me; least of all my children.  Especially the one child who was crying as much as I was.  (I will protect her identity by not naming names.  After typing that, I learned that it is likely another nameless, oldest child may have been tearing up a bit, too.)

Like I said, it is no surprise that I was crying by the end of the show.  The final 15 minutes was a constant string of “goodbyes.”  Each scene was another reminder that the show was wrapping up and would not be coming back.

But so what?  Why do shows like this always move me and start the waterworks?

It’s because I am so drawn to story.  I love stories.  And I bet you do, too.  Stories draw us in.  Stories make us feel like we are a part of.

Getting to know people’s stories has had a profound impact on my life.  In my current context, I am quickly learning that clients are not necessary components to be used by me to get the clinical hours needed for graduation.  No.  They are living stories who are inviting me to be a part of that story.

People in recovery from addiction face many stereotypes; usually from people who are not trying to recover from addiction.  Attending 12 step meetings and sitting across the table from people who are desperately trying to stay sober one day at a time has revealed to me the stories that shatter stereotypes.

People are more than just numbers or statistics.  People are more than data.  People are more than test subjects.  People are more than clients.  People are living stories.  The lives people lead tell a story and those stories draw us in.  When I see commercials for St. Jude’s Hospital I feel a fleeting tug at my heart strings.  But when I read a facebook post from a friend thanking the doctors and nurses at St. Jude’s for doing everything possible to save his son I know the story.  I am drawn in because of the story this young boy’s short life continues to tell; even after his passing.  When I read about people dying from cancer I feel sad for a short time.  But when I sit across the dinner table from my children and talk about hospice care and plan attending the funeral for a 10 year old classmate I am experiencing all the emotion that story brings.

Stories draw us in.  They reveal to us that people are more than what we thought they were.  Stories let us know there is real life behind the stereotype.  Stories teach us that there is so much more going on than any textbook can teach us.  Stories make us human.  Stories reveal our humanity.

So I will continue crying while watching TV shows.  Because a good story has invited me in and begged for my participation.  And I will continue to answer that invitation.