I have been thinking a lot about stories recently. Probably because I am considering a number of storylines for books and articles. Maybe because of what’s been happening in our society recently.
There’s no denying the fact that stories are very powerful things, for good or for ill. Jesus told many stories that were so simple that kids could understand the stories’ lessons but so layered that theologians still wrestle with the stories’ meanings.
There would be no personal or global history without stories. I don’t know about yours, but when my family gets together, stories (sometimes the same ones) are told about my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, allowing me to know them in meaningful ways. Without written and oral story-telling, we wouldn’t know anything: from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, to the Pilgrims’ landing in New England, to the experiences of the Middle Passage or the Holocaust.
On the other hand, if there is no opportunity for certain groups, cultures, etc. to tell their stories or for their stories to be heard, we are left with the fabric of our human experience not fully woven. And we can’t possibly understand them if we don’t listen to the stories.
I know I couldn’t. We could start there: what don’t we understand? With what group do we disagree? How do we meet people where they are, if we haven’t a clue as to where that actually is?
It begins with listening to the stories being told around us. And searching for the stories that we need to hear.
til tomorrow, enjoy life
I’m writing for the 31 days in October about books and reading.