I love telling people, when asked what we do: “we tell stories… on a stage.” Although there are people who don’t have personal experience with theatre, onstage or in an audience, everyone can relate to the telling of a story.
The essence and power of a story can be profound. Since our first childhood bedtime rituals, we have been captivated by stories. They draw us in and can influence, propel, and change us.
Stories connect people, stories inspire courage, stories give us an opportunity to see things differently. They create mystery, they narrate history. Stories told can generate emotion and provoke us to action. Stories remind us of who we are, where we have been, and where we want to go.
Many stories have been passed down by the telling from father to child. Others are written in books or drawn on walls. Many today are told on a screen, in a dance, a song, or a play.
Stories are especially loved when told by those we cherish around noisy family tables and by best friends in quiet voices.
Have you ever noticed how a child will hear a story or watch a movie and begin to pretend and play the story out? They will act out new stories that include things they have seen us do. A desire, deep in our DNA, to be a part of a grand and glorious story.
We’ve all done it. We want the wonderful stories that inspire us to be our story too. If we are brave enough, maybe we can step into that story. The truth is, just like we got inspired by someone else’s story, we can inspire others with ours.
I love the stories God tells in His Book: Joseph’s story (Genesis 37-50) of enduring belief in a dream, although rejected and betrayed; Rahab’s story (Joshua 2-6) of discerning what was coming and taking great courage to save her entire family; Gideon’s story (Judges 6-8) of hiding fearfully in a winepress, yet God had another story for him as a valiant warrior, and Gideon said YES.
Jesus told stories (parables) everywhere he went to point the way to all who would seek it. St. Paul, the apostle, brought many people into the kingdom by telling his story. I love how the bad parts of it did not disqualify him.
These stories can encourage us to endure, challenge us to go higher, and to hope in Someone greater.
The potency of “story” is that in the hearing or seeing we can extract treasure. In the telling, especially our own, we can give to others and multiply the gift.
What is your story? Someone is waiting. Be brave.