Everybody loves a good story, and inside every human being there is a good story — the story of their lives. More often than not the story does not get told and therefore is never heard. And this is a shame.
Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say our stories ARE our souls, it is true that our souls are expressed in our stories.
When I do a funeral, I tell, as best I can, the story of a person’s life. It involves sitting down with family members and asking questions to draw the story out from them. It is, of course, only the barest of sketchs of the person’s life that gets put into words. So much is left unsaid. Nonetheless, after I give the eulogy, people invariably say there was much that they heard that they did not know, and how much they appreciated hearing the story. And of course, all of us feel some regret at having not had the opportunity to hear the story first hand from the person eulogized while they were still alive.
In part, this is a consequence of the times we live in. In an earlier, simpler time where most people spent their whole life living in one community with a consistent set of family and neighbors, certain basic parts of the story would be shared common knowledge. Now we live and work beside people of whom we know only something of the present — nothing of the past.
People live out their last years in nursing homes, a shadow of their former self. Their former self lives on in their stories, but who takes the time to hear the stories?
God moments are woven into the stories if we take the time to hear them.
Loving God, thank you for the stories of Scripture, and thank you for our stories, and for the weaving together that happens through your Holy Spirit. Give us grace to be present to one another in such a way that we can truly listen and invite the telling of precious stories. Amen