Stories of Hope
Stories are vital to community. They are how we connect and learn about who we are, why we’re here and how we belong. Story preserves history and elicits laughter. It plunges us to the depths of ourselves and sets us soaring across the skies.
Yet writing our stories can be challenging.
Where do we start? What do we write? Will anyone care? Does it even matter?
Storytelling has, in some ways, become a lost art in this sound-bite technology age. But have you ever considered that those of us with chronic illness are blessed to move more slowly, to have the gift of time to rekindle this lost art?
Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, there are many ways to share our stories – in writing, through music and art, in drama and photography, by talking one-on-one or in audio and podcast formats.
For story is where hope begins.
It is the tale of our lives, connecting us to one another and shattering isolation.
As we express the stories of our lives, our perspective shifts and we begin to see from a distance what we were unable to see in the moment.
If you’ve ever thought about sharing your story, we’d love to help. We’ve created thoughtful questions and helpful tips to get you started. But remember, these are only a place to begin.
This is your story.
We welcome your submissions. Click here for our guidelines.
Writing the Story of Your Illness
We can feel isolated and powerless when living with chronic illness, but what if your story begins to bridge those barriers? What if your story begins a conversation? Opens a door for someone to connect, to feel less isolated and alone? What if your story offers a glimmer of hope to someone standing at the edge of hopelessness?
What if your story starts the conversation?
Click here for a great resource to help you write the story of your illness.
Expressing Illness through Poetry
Poetry by nature is challenging to define. Some of the greats provide a bit of insight.
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” – William Wordsworth
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost
“Poetry isn’t a profession, it’s a way of life. It’s an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.” Mary Oliver
Poetry is often about setting aside a few minutes to notice the sun slanting through a window; the cool, fresh water pouring from the tap; the smooth, crisp sheets fresh from the line; the nuzzle of a puppy; the laughter of a child; the smell of rich, black coffee; the creak of an oak floor; the sigh of the wind in the pines.
Close your eyes. Collect the moments. Let them flow through your fingers onto the page. String them together. Play with line breaks, the sounds, and the rhythm of the words. Dance. Breathe. Sing. Write.
When your poem feels complete, consider submitting it to us for publication. Click here for our guidelines.
We're delighted to introduce you to Chronic Joy Creative Contributor and fine artist, Barbara Coleman! Barbara has been married and in ministry with her pastor husband for almost 50 years, and has lived with chronic illness for more than 30 years, specifically with chronic pain from Lyme...
I knelt in the swamp, mesmerized by the creature on the shrub. His strange contortions enthralled me: he was emerging from his exuvia -- breaking out of his outer shell, undergoing the change from water-based nymph to fully-adult dragonfly.I watched for more than hour. It looked excruciating,...
If only I was healthy, LORD,How happy I would be.No more spacing out my activities;Low energy would not hinder me.I’d help my friends and neighborsAnd do for others all the while.I’d visit people in nursing homesAnd do it with a smile.I’d shop until I drop,No more limited time on my feet.I’d...
I want to be like sunshine; not a dark, gloomy cloudBut my mind and body shout so obnoxiously loudCaring not about my desires or plansThey only fight viciously to gain the upper-handOft times I must rest when I’d much rather goCausing discouragement which only God and I knowIt's like having a...