Back Stories

Everyone has a Back Story
 

In another Primary School some years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Lucy. Lucy was a beautiful lady, glamorous and fashionable. She was funny, popular, had a good looking husband, two picture perfect kids and a huge house. I was totally intimidated! I talked to her anyway and we struck up a little friendship. Even though she was popular, I could see that some parents shied away from chatting to her. Perhaps, like me it intimidated and amazed them how she was able to get out of her house looking so stunning and happy each morning! Maybe they felt that if she could raise her kids and look after herself, she was doing life much better than the rest of us? I don’t know.

The thing is when you get to know people you can see ‘that there is more to everyone than meets the eye’. Everyone has a back story. None of us are immune to life and what it chucks at us. Lucy’s back story was that she had terminal cancer. She refused to tell anyone, only her close friends and family knew. She was trying to protect her children. Every day she got ready knowing that she was only going to be around for a short time and she carried that burden backwards and forwards to school each day and still laughed and smiled with the rest of us. Lucy was the bravest person I have ever met.

When you look at the people that you work with, live near or are related to, whenever you feel envious, angry with their behaviour or disappointed by their conduct – I want to encourage you to think beyond or behind it. Anger provokes anger, envy gives way to competition and disappointment not dealt with encourages distance in our relationships.

Patrick Stewart the actor has often talked publicly about the work he does for the charity ‘Refuge’ that looks after women who have been in violent relationships. He has explained that he does this because of seeing his Mother repeatedly beaten by his Father. However, recently I heard an interview with Patrick where he talked about discovering that his father had been deeply scarred from his experiences in the war and been given no treatment for his poor mental health. Patrick spoke about his belief that all violence was wrong, but through learning more about his father he now felt that he had a better understanding of why his father had behaved that way. Patrick is now also committed to supporting a charity for soldiers suffering from ‘shell shock’. Patrick looked for the back story in his father’s life and in doing so was encouraged to act and change things for others.
In the Bible (The Message Version), In Matthew 11 v28-30 God talks about how we should: “learn the unforced rhythms of grace”

I love that! Imagine how our relationships would be different if we each practiced grace. If we looked beyond our feelings and listened to the persons ‘back story’. Sometimes you have to wait a while, be patient for a long time. Sometimes you feel that you are showing grace but there is no change within the relationship. Don’t give up, talk to a friend and pray. Wouldn’t it be great if we were the people God used to make a change!

Jennet Coleman, 07/11/2014