My sister-in-law, Erin Campbell, knows how to tell a story. She’s been doing it for years, and she has graduated to a new level now that she’s written a children’s book, Hark (see http://www.erincampbellstories.com for more of her writing and to get your own copy of Hark).
Last week Erin came to share her book with all the kids at the school where I work. The day before the worship service, we were at a bridal shop where my sister, Ruth, was picking her wedding dress, and it fascinated me to see Erin’s story-telling at work even there.
Ruth had narrowed her dress choice down to two, and when she came out in the second one, she just glowed! After Ruth showed us the dress (that she did pick), Erin started talking with the bridal sales ladies that were standing around enjoying seeing my sister in her dress, and then they got talking to Erin. She told them about her son, showed pictures, and talked, made jokes, and made those ladies feel at home.
As she connected with those ladies, they started sharing things they were working through in their lives in regards to thinking about having children and fears surrounding that…Erin precisely gave them a few thoughts to think about: “You know how you found out you were so selfish once you got married?” They sales ladies nodded as Erin continued, “Well, it goes to a whole new level once you have a baby!” Erin connected with them by telling stories from her life, and then was able to share truth with them because they had opened up because of her fun, jovial, and sincere stance on life. She just was herself!
Erin did it again the next day at my school: Before she spoke, we were waiting for worship to start, and Erin just was smiling and joking with the students behind us… After I introduced her by telling about some of her jobs, and that she has swam in most of the world’s oceans, she came up and had to tell one more thing about herself: That she has a wonderful dog named Sherpa. Then she talked about how all of us have fears that we carry around. She told us all to make those fears into a ball, and then throw them up front to a chair that was near to her. So we did that, and then Erin shared her book. After she shared Hark, Erin challenged us to keep the things we have to keep from that ball of fears, like having to clean our room or get our homework done, but to leave the other fears up there! Then she sat down on them and squished them.
Erin just made bridge after bridge after bridge with the people she met those days: by telling stories and by describing fun and unique parts of her life.
Even in her book, Hark, Erin did that as well. It’s marketed as a children’s book, but there’s a message from God for each age level. Hark delivers messages to everyone!
God is using Erin as one of his messengers through her writing and just how she relates to people. Her openness and connectivity is an inspiration and a model to me. Let’s go be ourselves and build bridges with those around us!