Reunions can be a great time for telling stories. Memories long forgotten come back to life. Sometimes it takes a little prompting. But the story, put together by the memories of others, becomes important to how we look at these events in our lives.
“Story-telling (and story-recalling)” we are told “helps us make sense of our lives.” How true!
Friends from Korea came to visit, and we started talking about a day we spent together in the Han family’s traditional family home-city. I was more than glad to have use of a vehicle for the trip, and was more than proud to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how the children were taught what this family’s pagoda-pavilion meant.
I completely missed the way some bystanders scorned us because a foreign woman drove the car. I also missed the way the Han family patriarch introduced himself to those on-lookers, and immediately won their respect because of his high ranking in Korean society.
Recalling this story thirty years later, with each of us, adding what we remembered, made the event come back to life, and made it an important part of our shared experience.
Another important aspect of story-telling — anthropologist Margaret Mead’s children recalled that their mother “always let us have our memories”. She never tried to correct those memories, though she also shared her memory of the incident. What a wonderful way to respect each other!
What about recalling the Biblical stories? Are they just something someone gabbles on about? That we only half hear? That we don’t bother to remember? When and how might they become part of our story? When might a memory from a particular story come to mind to help us through a difficult time? When might the words of Scripture, speaking of the awareness of God’s presence in the human scene, give expression to our feelings of hope?