Friday, June 18, 2010

Living Into God's Story - Part 1

I come from a long line of storytellers.

My great-grandfather on my dad's side of the family, Pa Everett (shown here with my great-grandmother, my Pa, my dad, and a very small me) knew how to tell a story. I have no idea how much formal education he had. He was a stonemason and a good one. But he is most remembered for his stories. I can remember sitting on the porch of his home on a summer evening, surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins (we have a big family) and listening to him recount some event from his past. I remember some of my aunts talking about trying to write down some of his stories and the general consensus was that it wouldn't work. The story wasn't as good when written. Even if you wrote it word for word, it would lose it's magic. There was just something about the way he told it.

My father is a storyteller in the tradition of Christ.

Just as Jesus used stories to drive home truth, my dad uses stories to illustrate God's principles and how they work in real life. As his daughter, I have frequently been the subject of his stories! Growing up, there were times when something would happen and we would look at dad and say "This better not end up in a sermon." But people relate to stories. And they are also more receptive to accepting a hard truth when they've been laughing for five minutes first. My dad doesn't pull any punches. He speaks the Truth. But he tells it in a way that makes you want to hear it. And hear more of it. It's a gift. And a calling. And he's amazing.

My aunts and uncles are funny and great at telling tales, but as far as I'm concerned, my sister currently wears the mantle of best storyteller.

Family dinners with me and my parents are calm, interesting, and normal. When Jennifer's there, look out. You're likely to spew your tea or choke on your spaghetti. Laughter is guaranteed. Much like my great-grandfather, her timing is superb. And she knows how to nail the punchline. The bottom line - any family gathering is just more fun when she's there. She knows how to liven up the party.

So you can imagine my total shock and amazement when I realized (at 35) that I might have gotten some of the storytelling gene. Mine mutated a bit though. I'm not so great with the oral story. I flub it up and it's never as funny. I'll always defer to Jennifer to recount an event. Her version will be much better. But writing down a story . . . that's different. Maybe because I have time to work with it, to tweak it. I'm not sure. It's still a new idea to me.

So in the next several posts, I'm going to be exploring the idea of storytelling in both fiction and the real world. Because here's a thought for you to ponder (while you wait anxiously for my next post!).

God is the ultimate storyteller.

And we are the characters in His story.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much.
I love you!