In college, I had a really good friend tell me I spoke in story form. I was fascinated by this comment and the idea behind it. Upon further reflection, I realized my friend was right; when I talk, I tell stories. I can’t help it. I love stories. I especially love people’s life stories. As a child, I read a lot, but I mostly read biographies. I loved it. I loved reading about people and the lives they lived. This is something that hasn’t changed. I still like hearing people’s stories.
Author Mary Ellen Thome recently sent me her memoir, Sea Glass. In it, Mary Ellen shares her life story. With graciousness, she shares hard, painful moments in her life (an alcoholic father, losing her brother at an early age).
Mary Ellen has a background in counseling; specifically, as a school counselor. As she told her story, Mary Ellen would often reference counseling terms regarding her childhood struggles. I found Mary Ellen to be incredible self-aware. What really impressed me was how she was quick to share how her experiences as a child, along with her counseling background, enabled her to help the students she encountered. Several times throughout the book, Mary Ellen mentioned how she has been able to reconnect with her students through social media. That demonstrated her incredible care of her students to seek them out and cheer them on in their successes.
Mary Ellen became a Christian as a women in her late forties. Her love for the Lord shown brightly throughout her book. This is a woman who loves the Lord. As she shared how she came into a relationship with Jesus, she acknowledges the people she met in her life before becoming a Christian shaped her life. She specifically mentions the influence of her college roommate, Laura Jean. I loved hearing about how Laura Jean planted a seed of faith in Mary Ellen. It was a beautiful reminder that, we plant the seeds, and Christ does the work.
One of the tensions in writing a memoir about one’s life is that it is never a solitary account. Other people are intertwined within the fabric of your life too. When you think of those people in your life, you have to tell your story with great consideration of them. Mary Ellen does this; when she discusses her divorce, the priority is respecting her son and his father and their privacy. I really admired this; she was sensitive of everyone involved as she shared.
Mary Ellen Thome has a special gift for the world; her faith in Christ came at an older age. That encouraged me greatly. It reminded me that it’s never too late or hopeless for someone to decide to follow Jesus. If you are praying for someone’s salvation, the subtitle of Sea Glass is A Testimony of God’s Restoration. That should encourage you. It’s never too late!