I wrote in the margin of my book, “So our story doesn’t exist unless we have someone to tell it to?”
A few years ago Cyndi and I went to
Well, I didn’t believe that was exactly true, but I realized the corollary was true. If I don’t have an opportunity to tell my stories when I get back, I might as well never go on the trip. For me the stories were more important than souvenirs. Stories are the artifacts of life.
One time I heard Gary Barkalow ask at a Wild at Heart camp, “What is something that you cannot stop doing?” He wasn’t asking about bad habits or eating chocolate or nervous tics, but rather he was asking about the clues into our personality and character.
My answer to his question? I cannot stop telling the stories of my life and the lives around me. If I have any sort of experience, I have to tell about it. For me, the trip hasn’t happened unless I have stories to tell. The book hasn’t been read without a story. A backpacking trip never occurred without a story, and a story doesn’t usually bubble up unless something spectacular happened – like a disaster, or a storm, or a beautiful sunrise, or a wild animal. And the best part of running a marathon is the story-telling session afterward. Without a story to tell, it’s a waste of 26.2 miles.
One year at CornFest at our house my
Recently we met for lunch at Rosa’s
Roy Blount wrote about a friend of his who was visiting her mother in a nursing home. Many of the other residents had Alzheimer’s, but the friend’s mother’s mind was unclouded. “They’ve forgotten their stories!” she said of the others. “They can say anything!”
I always think of stories as defining us, of communicating our heart. To say, let me tell you my story, is to say, let me tell you who I am and what I believe and what I think is important and who I love and where I’m headed, and all that. To know my stories is to know me.
And in fact, if I want to describe someone else to you, the best way to do it would be to tell you a story.
The mother in the nursing home said if we have no stories we have no boundaries. We can be anybody, which is to be nobody. One day we are a musician, the next a mountain climber, then a mechanic, maybe a rocket scientist, maybe a street bum. Stories not only tell who we are, they keep us true to ourselves.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32
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