Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Autumn Grace #21: Oh, the Stories We'll Tell!

Dear friends,

Oh, the stories we'll tell! 

I've often thought that the best part of Heaven - other than the presence of God and the angels - is going to be the chance to sit and listen to the stories of everyone else, and to tell my own. Can you imagine having a chat with someone who lived a hundred of years ago, or even a hundred years in the future? Or someone who lived all the way around the world, or even not so far away, but you still never knew them? I can find out what really happened - this led to this which led to that and then these other things. The sad parts will all be put into perspective, and we'll see them through the lens of eternal joy, and understand how they all fit in for the good somehow.

My pastor once joked that I'm a po-mo (post-modernist) because of my love for stories. I somehow relate to stories best. Good thing for me that the Bible is written as a long story of God's interactions with people! Jesus himself taught his friends with parables - little stories.

I love history of all kinds, and I most like to teach history through stories. That's why I'm big into historical fiction and biographies to supplement the names, places, and dates in the text books. Even when I am teaching straight from a text, I still like to emphasize the story aspect. Stories make the history come alive!

But it's not just the history of famous people whom I don't personally know that interests me. What about the stories of every day people around me? What a goldmine!

Today I listened to a new friend tell a fascinating story of a life event that happened to her nearly 20 years ago. At times I thought, "Well, I'm sure glad that didn't happen to me!" And at other parts of her story, I thought, "Hmm. Now I'm jealous. I wish..." Stories are meant to affect us, but we have to listen well and think about what is said. Then we can respond in some way.

This reminds me, too, that I need to be listening to my children tell their stories of what's going on in their lives now, or a memory from years ago that still leaves an impression them. I can also share my stories with them of things I've learned along the way.

What do you think? What role does story play in your life?

Virginia Knowles

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