“Write your own story with Grace, Grit and Gratitude”. That was the title of a seminar I recently attended.

While the speaker had some great thoughts that she shared (be on the lookout for future posts about what I learned) I was hoping, again, that I was going to learn HOW to tell my story.

I’m constantly trying to figure out the best way to share my story that will be meaningful and helpful to those on the path behind me. I have been seeking a class that will unlock the secret to storytelling. Each time I sign up for these classes (or seminars) I have great expectations. But I usually walk away still looking for that one thing that will make my writing helpful and hopeful to those who take the time to read it.

As I reflected on what I heard the speaker say at the latest seminar, my mind kept replaying the scene in City Slickers where Curly (Jack Palance) explains to Mitch (Billy Crystal) about the “One Thing”. [If you have never seen City Slickers, it is an underrated movie, click here and watch the scene]

I love this scene. First, Curly talks about all of the others that come to experience the Ranch Life at about the same age (can you say “midlife crisis?”). They are all looking for the secret of life and untying their knots.

Curly asks Mitch if he knows what the secret of life is. Mitch, listening intently, believing he is about to learn a great secret says “No. What?” Curly then tells him “It’s one thing. Just one thing.” Mitch asks what the one thing is, and Curly tells him “that’s what you’ve got to figure out.”
The scene ends and Mitch is just as confused as he was when they set out. 

Like me seeking the answers from others to meaningfully share my story, Mitch is left wondering what is the one thing.

I’ve been trying to figure out the “one thing” that has helped me through these tough years and come out on the other side. To be called by friends and others as strong or resilient. And be able to share that one thing with others. I have struggled with trying to figure out how to offer hope to people and give them the answer I think they are looking for.

But after watching and rewatching that scene from City Slickers, I realized I was still thinking like Mitch. I was expecting someone else to tell me what the one thing is to effectively share my story. When in fact, if I really listen to what Curly says – “that’s what you’ve got to figure out” – only I can figure out how to tell my story.

My hope is this blog offers hope to others who have been dealt a tough hand. To show it is possible to pick yourself up and be resilient. But I now realize it is not to tell you what the “one thing” is.  Because my “one thing” may not be the same as your “one thing.”

For me, every day I got up and faced the day after a cancer diagnosis, not once but twice, with grace and gratitude was a way to teach my daughters what resilience looked like.  And every day I chose to get up and face the day after my husband died was an opportunity to teach them that surrounding yourself with people who love you and lift you up when life is hard is worth every bit of the time invested to build those relationships.

I can’t tell you what “one thing” will solve whatever problem you are facing. But I can tell you when you find yours it will make it easier to face obstacles with grace and gratitude.

Leave a comment and let me know what your “one thing” is. I’d love to know what keeps you pushing forward.