Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Power of a Story

This past weekend Mike and I hosted a small group leader gathering in our home. Many of us had not met before the evening so Mike, in an effort to help us get to know one another better, offered a question for thought and discussion. “If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would that person be?” Interestingly, one-third of the people chose to have dinner with a parent or a grandparent they had lost prematurely. Each person explained why they chose that particular person.

At the end of the evening, I chatted with one of the leaders about the power of stories, stories shared in the written word and in the spoken word. We agreed the motivation behind choosing a family member was the desire to hear the stories, the stories of the family heritage, the stories which contributed one’s being, the stories that contributed to the lives of others.

My grandmother will celebrate her 91st birthday tomorrow. She has lived through the Great Depression, WWII, the Kennedy Era, the invention of many modern conveniences and more. She remembers events well, better than most of us on any given day. She holds within her, a living history, of our world and of our family.

Several months ago, my seven-year-old daughter questioned the age of her great-grandmother and made an insightful comment as we studied the Great Depression. “We must ask Grammy about her experiences during the Great Depression. She might be the only person left alive that we can talk to about living during that time.” Ah, yes, child, you understand the importance of passing down stories.

We are all story tellers, story bearers, regardless of our age. Stories are the connection to generations, the stories we long to hear, the stories our hearts need to hear. Today I will purpose to tell at least one personal story to my children, one with which they might better understand their heritage and their world.

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