Are you playing or PRODUCING in the Dirt?


I have never seen an episode of This Is Us.

Hey, don’t judge me! I can explain. I tend to avoid shows, videos, and movies where people say, “Get the tissue.” That’s almost a guarantee that I’m going to scroll on by.

However, I’m conflicted about This Is Us because, for me, this year is about preserving and enhancing the health of my story. A healthy story isn’t always a “happy” story throughout. And I deem a “happy” ending as one where transformation is achieved, lessons are learned, and growth occurs. And what I hear about this show seems to confirm depiction of healthy stories.

Here’s what a few of my social media friends had to say about why they enjoy This is Us:

“Not contrived.”

“Situations are relatable.”

“Real life that no one wants to talk about.”

“Feels authentic.”

“Characters are well developed, multi-layered, multi-dimensional.”

“Shows importance of how upbringing affects adulthood.”

“Didn’t feel scripted.”

“Characters develop over time.”

And my personal favorite, the show’s “…stories spark conversations and people reveal things about themselves that weren’t known.”

Isn’t this how we want people to feel when we share our personal story with them? Don’t we want to learn about each other and hear how others overcame their adversity? Also, I know I don’t want someone to leave my presence and feel that I’m underdeveloped or not relatable. And authentic is an ongoing goal, especially when discussing real-life issues.

This type of storytelling requires work. And right words. Right words emerge from right thoughts. And right thoughts require work!

What I believe about the other characters in my story stems from what’s in my heart. So I choose to expose my psyche to things that evoke what I want my heart to experience. Sound controlling? It is. I was given a mandate, ‘Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life.’ I have a responsibility to my family and friends to diligently protect my heart, because they are the ones that will get the backlash of those issues! And when I protect my heart, I shield my story from perspectives fueled by pain and opinion, versus truth.

The lesson from my story? When I embrace the roots of my own issues and look at others through that lens, I can be judicious about what I say…even about the ones who ‘did me wrong.’ How does that come about? By allowing the baseness of my own soul — evidenced by some of my biggest mistakes — and the grace I received despite those actions, to guide how I see others.

In other words, the growth I experienced took place with humility and some dirt. Therefore, when I see or experience dirt, it serves me well to consider that a growth process is occurring underneath, and soon a flower or tree will arise from those roots.

How about you? Are you dealing with some dirt and desperately seeking signs that there’s a flower under there somewhere? Or, have you sprouted and now have a story to tell? Feel free to share in the comments!

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