This morning as I stumbled out of bed and said, “Good Morning,” to my husband, he looked at me through the mirror as he straightened his tie.
“I have some sad news for you,” he said.
“I know. I saw it last night. Nora Ephron died.”
I never met Nora Ephron, or even came close to meeting her. But she has had a huge impact on my life. If you’ve read my book, Sharp Sticks, you know that I was inspired by Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck in a big way. Before reading that book, I had been writing for years, but I had focused primarily on fiction (all unpublished). I had also published a few devotional pieces and a commentary published in The Washington Post, but I had not yet even considered writing a collection of essays. Nora Ephron was truly the sole inspiration for that.
And what a gift Ms. Ephron had for storytelling! About eighteen months ago, I painted our family room. I had DVR’d When Harry Met Sally and the boys were all at school. I played the movie and painted away. I probably should’ve worn a Life Alert because I could’ve fallen off the ladder from laughing. In high school, this was my very favorite movie, and twenty years later Ephron’s characters were as winsomely memorable as ever.
Last night I went with Will to a work reception. As we were walking in, we saw his boss. He told me he’s been reading my book, and then we laughed about some of the stories that he had recently read. I’ve met him on a number of occasions, but nothing connects you with other people like stories.
Do you tell enough stories? Are you willing to share experiences that are embarrassing, humiliating even? I’ve found that the more I share of myself, the more connected I feel to others. You can spend ten years with someone, but if you don’t hear their stories, you may not really know them at all. On the other hand, if you know someone’s most embarrassing moments, their funniest experiences, their heartaches and struggles, or most especially if you know how they came to know Jesus, you have a bond that transcends everyday, often inch-deep familiarity.
Ephron connected people. She was self-depricating and real. I’m sure she had many friends who loved her dearly. I wish I had been one of them. How great would it have been to have Ephron as a storytelling mentor?
The Bible says that we should “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12) and today I am mourning the loss of the ever-inspirational Nora Ephron.