I believe in stories
Who has not been taken somewhere far away by the words, “Once upon a time” or “I remember when”. Stories are everywhere in our lives. There is nowhere, anywhere or anytime that does not have a story.
We teach our children and ourselves with our stories. The fairy tales and folklore of our childhood, regardless of from where we come, have taught us values and given us a sense of ourselves.
Stories inspire our imagination. We can travel to distant lands and meet wonderful new people. We can create adventures in our minds exploring the frontiers of experience.
Then there are those stories that truly are real. Each of us is our own time machine with memories, experiences and feelings. To be able to share these stories with our families, our friends, or anyone who is willing to listen is to share a moment, a slice in time of experience through a very special pair of eyes. Our eyes.
My grandmother’s stories were my first time machine. Hers were stories of life growing up in a very small farming town in Southern Illinois during the late 1800s as the daughter of a self-taught country lawyer. Her stories were of days sitting in court at the foot of the judges bench listening to cases, ice skating with her brother on the river in winter, and sitting in a schoolroom with lessons when the world outside beckoned. With each story I was transported across time and space.
Then there were the family stories that could only be heard by sneaking out of bed late at night, sitting very quietly at the top of the stairs and listening carefully. These stories told of living through the darkest of times with dignity and honour. This is where I learned that honour and dignity were forged through the fires of humility, experience and humor.
Of course we always have the family stories that make us laugh, make us cry, that everone always remembers and some wish people would forget, that are shared during each family gathering. Yet, these are just the stories that remind us of how human and connected we all are.
Stories can connect us. Stories can also separate us. Tales based in fear, and the things born of fear are what can separate. It is us, the owners of these stories who have the power to choose between connection or separation.
For myself, I choose connection. To experience though the eyes of another is a privilege and a gift. It is an opportunity to see and live in our world in ways that we might never know, or of knowing ourselves better by sharing the similarity of experience, to find comfort and understanding. It becomes a profound way to deepen the human experience.
So, please, tell me a story. Transport me to a magical place with the words of “Once upon a time”! But better yet, transport me to that more special place with the words, “I remember when”.