What sacred story, living within you, do you call up from the depth of your own heart and soul, to feast on when you’re feeling famished? To stand on, when you’re struggling to feel solid ground? To reorient and reframe, when you’re feeling hopeless and at the mercy of too many things beyond your control?

The one I call up is the one I loved hearing from my grandmother when I was a child.

Lola, tell me again about that time, when you fled with Dad into the mountains!!

I see her eyes twinkling, the corners of her mouth turning up in amusement. We are sitting together on the bathroom tile by the tub, and she is helping me dry off with a faded towel.

You’re not tired of hearing that story, Tina?

I never was. I never am. So she begins, as if telling it for the first time.

Well you see … it was in wartime … when the Japanese soldiers were invading our land. We were told we had to run, to flee, into the mountains, for safety. Your Lolo was already in Tabaco with your Auntie. So I had to carry your Daddy, he was only a year old, on my hip. Ooh, he was so heavy!! And his voice, his crying, so loud! And I was so afraid, when he cried, that the Japanese soldiers might hear him! So I prayed and prayed, that they wouldn’t hear him. My arms were so tired. But I carried him, into the mountains, past the rice fields and paddies, until we were safe

As a child, it all sounded so exciting, like an adventure movie. I loved picturing Dad as a one year old child. I loved seeing the rice fields and paddies and mountains.

As a woman, I hear and feel more. My Lola’s fear, my father’s wailing. I imagine her weariness, his hunger. I smell the sweat of the terror, of running with your child to save your lives. I feel her aching calves, the endless pounding of hard dirt beneath her feet.

I also hear and feel her determination. Her strength. Her courage. Her faith.

This is what I’m made of. This story lives in my own DNA, in my own blood. Her story is my story. Her strength is my strength. Her spirit is my spirit.

We have our living stories from sacred scripture, to call up and feast on, as well. The story of God’s people fleeing from bondage under Pharaoh through the wilderness to the Promised Land. The story of our Lord, crucified and risen. His own teachings and stories, of a Greater Reality, breaking in and breaking open, even here, even now.

This is what we are made of. These stories live in our spiritual DNA, in our spiritual blood. These stories are our story. Their strength is our strength. Their spirit is our spirit.

Tomorrow is the day when as a nation, we call up our living story, in all its promise and pain, hope and fear. A story we are still writing — a living, breathing story — of dying, of rising.

However you choose to spend the day tomorrow, and wherever you will be, I invite you to take some time to recall and remember those living stories from deep within you, to feast and stand on.