So, what is your story? What has shaped and formed you in the past? How do you make sense of what you’ve been through? I remember working for Xerox selling, copiers and fax machines right out of college, and finding myself wondering, not how many copies they made or whether they needed one side or two, but how they made sense of their experiences and what they did with their joys and hurts. Sometimes we live in the shadow of our past, destined to reencounter the pain because we cannot reframe the narrative even though it is a broken one. One of the things that sets us apart as human beings is our capacity to reflect on and make meaning of our lives, which in turn makes possible the new creation God is calling forth in us always.
I’ve lived in many parts of the country, as well as in Cameroon. One of the most difficult things about being in a new place is not having anyone who knows my stories, who knows me well enough to appreciate how something in the present is very often woven through my past, for better for worse. So, too, I appreciate when someone entrusts me with a part of their story, inviting me into the holy space of what is real and meaningful to them. Being able to tell our stories, and make space to hear the stories of others, is vulnerable work that is healing and life-giving. It is spiritual as well.
Story telling is empowering, as my friend and consummate storyteller, Rebecca Anderson reminds us. A pastor and someone who leads storytelling workshops, Rebecca understands better than most the true significance and power of learning to tell the stories of our lives. She shares:
At Earshot, we believe that telling true stories can save lives. We’re empowered by telling our own stories, rather than consuming the stories others create about us. We find out we’re not alone when we hear about the lives of others. We learn about the on-going work of God in the world when we hear and tell stories from the Body of Christ.
Stories are important. For people of faith, they are essential. A central part of our worship together is listening to and reflecting on stories, stories of those in our spiritual family as they sought greater understanding about themselves, the world and our God. This Sunday, as part of our Heritage Celebration, we’ll hear stories about who we are at St. Simon’s. This is holy and important work, for knowing where we have come from informs who we are today and also who we are becoming.
We are also excited to have Rebecca lead us in a storytelling workshop on Wednesday evening, November 8, following Walk in Wednesday supper. I encourage you to come explore your own stories and be part of forming deeper relationships with fellow participants. She assures me we just need to come as we are, bringing our willingness to be present to the wisdom inherent in our own lives. As we do, we’ll have eyes to see how God is present with us and in us as well as in our community.
Hope to see you Sunday!