Stories are words strung together as beads on a necklace, words letters, letters shapes, and yet their power captivates, motivates, and grows in me. Whether fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or ancient, the power of a story to reveal truth about humanity, Truth about God and life drives me to write and read and discuss. I can’t imagine not having stories to learn and to teach.
I tell a lot of stories in every day conversation. That’s how I communicate. Sometimes it makes my family crazy, but in my mind, stories are the most effective form of support or illustration for almost any point I’m making. I will tell you of a customer. Of a friend. Of a movie or a book or a song. Because in every interaction, I see a chance to more deeply understand the people in my community. And because each person is formed in the image of my God, I see a chance to discover an aspect of His character, whether or not I take advantage of that opportunity. Whether or not that person even walks on the same narrow path I strive to tread.
I’m working on developing the skills of storytelling for the purpose of sharing the Truths I discover. It’s difficult. Sometimes I feel like it may not be worth the effort, but then I stumble upon a blogger or a novelist or a writer of any sort who speaks in a voice to share Truth, and I’m inspired. My dream comes whispering back, “You can share too.”
In case you are looking for stories, too, here are some of my more recent discoveries. I read the book Just A Minute by Wess Stafford, former president of Compassion International, a collection of stories about how “just a minute” changed the path of a child. I was inspired by the impact a word or kind action can touch the very core of a child, but not only a child: anyone. A moment of kindness speaks wonders into a heart unused to a friendly smile.
I recently discovered Message in a Mason Jar, a blog written by a woman named Darcy, brimming with Truth and life. I don’t remember where I found her. Facebook? Pinterest? I don’t know, but I was inspired by her style. I especially enjoyed this post about a recent game of marbles with her son.
In fiction, I’m reading The Four Feathers. I’ve loved the movie for years, the story of courage, of cowardice, and the power of nobility, friendship, and romance. I hadn’t read the book because, somewhere, I heard it was dry, but I must have heard wrong, because I love it. Maybe it helps that I am so familiar with the story, but I’m consumed by A.E.W. Mason’s skillful portrayal of the complicated dynamics between the cast. I see myself and my relationships mirrored in moments, in gestures. That mirroring of real life keeps me involved in a story. What will I see of people and of life as I read? Will I learn of relationships? And when I can love a character for his struggle to do right and also do what is expected…
Written story has consumed me since I learned to read, which was before my early concrete memory. That doesn’t even touch the story of friends. Of family. Of people. But maybe that’s a post for another day.
What written story has you thinking and learning today?