Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about telling stories. And since stories are an integral part of all communities–how we know who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re headed–why not spend a few posts here at Texas Schmexas musing about storytelling?
I like to muse.
One thing that got me thinking was something that singer/songwriter Kate Campbell said on Sunday while speaking at our church (as part of our “summer of storytelling,” while our pastor is on sabbatical). As she began, she talked about her music being a means of taking her places she otherwise wouldn’t have gone and introducing her to people she otherwise wouldn’t have met. It’s a simple thought, really, but it got me musing.
What is it that keeps us from going places and meeting people? What is it that makes us feel more comfortable in our own little spaces, on our own little streets, in our neighborhoods, in our towns? Or worse, why do we sit in the very same pew in church every Sunday? At the same spot at the dinner table? Or same seat in the classroom? (I’ve gotten into trouble violating this last rule.)
We like what is familiar. We don’t like being out of our comfort zones.
And Sunday’s lectionary passage was the story of the Good Samaritan. Ouch.
Kate also mentioned that as far as she could tell from her experiences in all necks of the woods, universal human experience is filled with moments of great sorrow as well as moments of great joy. Wherever you go, you’ll meet the burdened, and you’ll meet the joyful. And at some point or another, you’ll probably be both. At the same time. Sometimes.
So Kate sees her role as telling stories about everyday people.
Telling their stories.
I love this idea of telling other people’s stories, of carrying them on, especially when they can’t carry them on anymore themselves. I’m thinking in particular of my grandma, who passed away last year after years of Alzheimer’s, and J’s grandma, who is slowly slipping from us. And many of our other loved ones have physical bodies that are failing.
We need to tell their stories. It’s a difficult task, of course, since we rarely know their stories, beyond the big moments and important dates.
But even the folks who are here present with us, maybe even on a daily basis, what about them? How often do we take the time to get to know their stories? Really know them?
And maybe the other question we need to be asking is this: how often are we willing tell our own stories? It means stepping outside that happy comfort zone. It means being vulnerable.
Boy, do I not want to hear that.
In case you’re interested, some of Kate’s songs were particularly good, I thought, like “Miles of Blues,” “Signs Following” (that’s a YouTube link), and “Save the Day.” You might want to check them out if you’re in the mood for some new music.