Story Catchers.

By Kaitlyn PartinAugust 21, 2009

Today was a beautiful day.

Today I had the pleasure of having conversations that really matter. Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to be part of this movement—that not all organizations value stories to the point that they’ll allow for you to silence your phone, close your laptop and shut your mouth in the middle of a workday to listen and learn from another. I am thankful that in our office we are able to practice what we preach, to listen when needed, and share from the core of our being.

This morning I got to hear about the passions of a witty Scottish fellow. Our friend Stuart is currently visiting us from Scotland and has big dreams to make our presence in the UK a greater reality, and to impact those who wouldn’t naturally cross paths with To Write Love on Her Arms.

This afternoon I got to have lunch with my friend Justin. We smiled and laughed, and later shared some about hard realities as we sat behind office desks and wondered about the pain that comes with honesty and figuring out next steps.

This evening I ended my workday chatting with an author I admire; I was sitting at a desk in Cocoa, FL and he behind one in Portland, OR. It’s so rare to read an author’s work and also be able to exchange words in real-time. His name is Brian Doyle and he has an art for capturing truth with simple beauty and honesty. Last week I decided to email Jamie one of my favorite pieces of his, “Two Hearts.” I did this because Jamie recently gave each of our interns a copy of Rob Bell’s newest book, Drops Like Stars, as they leave us for summer and return to their communities to continue living out our mission and movement at home.

Rob’s website says, “It is the difficult and the unexpected, and maybe even the tragic, that opens us up and frees us to see things in new ways. Many of the most significant moments in our lives come not because it all went right but because it all fell apart. Suffering does that. It hurts, but it also creates.”

Today was a day in believing in stories, in the idea that confession and passion and honesty and forgiveness matter so much, but that questions and pain are a part of this growth process as well, part of the process of creating something new within each of us. And sitting here now, I can’t help but wonder if any of those rich conversations I got to have today has a greater significance.

Jamie and I wanted to share Brian’s story with you guys… So, take a few minutes to read it, enjoy it, and wrestle with it. Brian shares our belief that stories matter, and encouraged me over the phone that we should all strive to become better listeners and “story catchers” in our daily lives.

We hope your day feels beautiful.




Two Hearts

By Brian Doyle 
from God is Love

Some months ago my wife delivered twin sons one minute apart. The older is Joseph and the younger is Liam. Joseph is dark and Liam is light. Joseph is healthy and Liam is not. Joseph has a whole heart and Liam has half. This means that Liam will have two major surgeries before he is three years old.

I have read many pamphlets about Liam’s problem. I have watched many doctors’ hands drawing red and blue lines on pieces of white paper. They are trying to show me why Liam’s heart doesn’t work properly. I watch the markers in the doctors’ hands. Here comes red, there goes blue. The heart is a railroad station where the trains are switched to different tracks. A normal heart switches trains flawlessly two billion times in a life; in an abnormal heart, like Liam’s, the trains crash and the station crumbles to dust.

So there are many nights now when I tuck Liam and his wheezing train station under my beard in the blue hours of night and think about his Maker. I would kill the god who sentence him to such awful pain, I would stab him in the heart like he stabbed my son, I would shove my fury in his face like a fist, but I know in my own broken heart that this same god made my magic boys, shaped their apple faces and coyote eyes, put joy in the eager suck of their mouths. So it is that my hands are not clenched in anger but clasped in confused and merry and bitter prayer.

I talk to God more than I admit, “Why did you break my boy?” I ask.

I gave you that boy, he says, and his lean brown brother, and the elfin daughter you love so.

“But you wrote death on his heart,” I say.

I write death on all hearts, he says, just as I write life.

This is where the conversation always ends and I am left holding the extraordinary awful perfect prayer of my second son, who snores like a seal, who might die tomorrow, who did not die today.



(A happy update: Brian shared with me that Liam is alive and well today; he’s a healthy 14-year-old!)

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