Monday, July 26, 2010

The power of the story

There's a room upstairs, with wide windows, curtains pushed back. Only sun and clouds can see a girl, in a bean bag. She's living in the story held firmly between her folded hand and the crook of her elbow. Her eyes follow roads of words, winding over paper.

There's a world where she doesn't have to be worried or shy. Where imagination makes her what she would dearly love to be. But there's an ache at the end of the turning of the pages. When the bump of falling back to earth and looking in the mirror, just accentuates the distance The distance from the lifeline she has traversed in her mind to the room upstairs with windows. And downstairs lacks the dreamscape rightness of a book.

Slowly she gets older and downstairs fits more easily. Life becomes manageable and brings its own treasures. Somehow, though, the stories of her childhood retain a smell, a taste, a sound and feeling that is the comfort of home.

Stories are woven into my life since I could listen to them read to me, and slowly learnt to decipher them myself. I've read books on buses, on trains, in cars, in bed, at the table, on the beach, while walking, while taking (brief) notes in lectures and when avoiding study. I've also grown to love the stories people tell of their lives. Telling me a story from your life is a great gift, to me.

I love the process of getting to know the characters, the setting up of the dilemma, and then the resolution (or not, sometimes).There is something so enthralling about the unfolding and revelation. And something so heart-breaking about leaving that revelation behind. I have finished books and been left with an ache in my chest for a few days.

One of the reasons I love the story of Jesus is the way the narrative grabs me and pulls me in like the books that filled my growing up. I am drawn to the dilemma and the revelation. But the added dimension is what seals the deal for me. The story, instead of leaving me bereft at the end, incorporates me and welcomes me. I don't have to put this book down, because it has become my life.

The story is of my broken life being brought home and gently repaired so that I can participate with God in making a new world. Daily he tells me the story again so that I can get up, dust myself off and join in.
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness;
they will sing with joy about your righteousness.
The LORD is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
The LORD is good to everyone.
He showers compassion on all his creation.
Psalm 145:7-9

Thankfulness for participating in the story,

990.   imagination and newly-created games
991.   frustrated mornings redeemed
992.   the support I take for granted
993.   Sunday afternoon family time - in the kitchen
994.   a visit from mum
995.   lots and lots of washing, folded and away
996.   falling asleep in front of a DVD
997.   the scent of jonquils
998.   the power of narrative
999.   the gift of stories
1000. the invitation to participate
1001. 1000 thankfulnesses and the good things that they bring

Thanks to Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience who started the Gratitude Community. Counting 1000 gifts has been an encouraging discipline.


holy experience


Misty said...

oh, can i ever relate to you and your love of story, especially those woven from childhood! but, too, those we're told across coffee or tea, or those we're making in little ones and family... yes, Storyteller and storymaker are one in us, and grace.
a thousand gifts counted--praise!! what a blessing to come over toyour space today.

sarah said...

what a lovely weblog you have - beautiful writing.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

Oooh, you've reached 1000! Good for you!

Laura said...

I join you in your thankfulness for narratives, as well as the way the Gospel brings us into the grand, unending Story.
Congratulations on 1000 gifts counted! So glad to have found your blog through the Gratitude Community.

scraps of starlight said...

Oh I can relate so!
I love reading and loose myself in books for days at a time. My imagination swirling around the stories and ideas as I work through my tasks. Yes books have been a place where my soul can rest unafraid. My natural shyness, ebbs away in the turning of pages.
Thank you for sharing a little of your story here today :)
And your list of thankfulness...beautiful! I relate to the frustrated morning redeemed one regularly :)
Blessings ~