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Our story... your story?

As we go through the journey of life we all have our ups and downs, writes Paul Beasley Murray in introducing his latest book. It is how we tell that story that gives meaning to our lives and in turn enables others to understand us.

Could you begin to tell something of your story?

Your story

Growing Older is a continuation of my earlier autobiography, This is My Story: a story of life, faith and ministry. As a result of the positive reviews I received, I have been emboldened to write this ‘sequel’.

Initially I entitled the sequel The Story Goes On. However, the more I wrote, the more I realised that this title no longer did justice to the story I was seeking to tell. For whereas This is My Story focussed on my life, my faith, and my ministry, the story I am now telling is a shared story of life, faith and ministry.

These last five years have been highly significant for my wife Caroline: in this period she has been President of the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales; she has been honoured by the Queen with her investiture as an Officer of the British Empire; and she has begun the transition into active retirement. It therefore only seemed right to tell something of our story, and not just of my story.

So in this account the focus is not just on the way I have sought to live out my calling as a minister of the Gospel, but also of the way Caroline has sought to live out her calling as a servant of Christ. This book is ‘our story’……
As with This Is My Story, the primary motivation in writing this book is for our grandchildren. Hopefully when eventually they get round to reading Growing Older, they will discover a little more about what made their grandparents ‘tick’. The danger of a book like this is that it becomes just an account of much activity, whereas I want my grandchildren to see my love for the Lord Jesus as the driving force for all this activity. In this regard my account has at times become very personal……
Growing older cover-2I dare to believe it may be of interest to ministers, retired or preparing for retirement – or for anybody concerned for the welfare of ministers in retirement. As I discovered, in the UK there is little written about the particular challenges ministers face when they retire.….

Or it may well be that Growing Older will be of interest to anybody retired or preparing for retirement. As David Winter made clear in The Highway Code to Retirement: "Retirement does not mean we are ‘over the hill’. It does not mean that we are ‘past it’.”

It is simply a new stage in life.
'How could you live and have no story to tell?' asked the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. We all have a story to tell. This is not a story of make-believe, but a story of our lives. However, the story is not just a set of facts, but always involves interpretation. It is how we make sense of our lives that makes the difference. The truth is that nobody lives on an even keel. As we go through the journey of life we all have our ups and downs. It is how we tell that story that gives meaning to our lives and in turn enables others to understand us.
In October 2020 – five and a half years after I formally retired - I was given a copy of Story-Making Leadership, in which the joint author, Nick Isbister, had inscribed: 'At this important time of celebrating your 50 years of service, keep ‘story-making’ and ‘story-telling’ and being the leader God designed you to be'. 
In Cries for a Lost Homeland Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford, has told her own story within the context of reflecting on Jesus’ last ‘seven words’ from the Cross. In her preface she borrowed some words from Annette Simmons, 'My hope is that by talking about my stories, you will start thinking about your stories… Go tell your story; the world needs it'.

What would give me pleasure would be to discover that as a result of reading Growing Older some of my readers might in turn tell their story.

Image | Unsplash

This is an excerpt from the introduction of Paul Beasley-Murray’s latest book, Growing Older - Our Story of New Adventures and New Horizons


Growing Older is published by the College of Baptist Ministers in association with PB-M Books and is available directly from the author (paulbeasleymurray@gmail.com). The electronic PDF costs £5. The printed book also costs £5, but postage & packing is extra (£2.50 in the UK)



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Baptist Times, 25/08/2022
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