Friday, November 12, 2010

living into the story


the word that makes everyone an individual.
the most important part of humanity.
the bane of our existence.

i love stories, as i assume most everyone does. movies, books, music, jokes, conversations, all center around a story. some are real stories, some a imaginary stories, some are a mix of both. and as any writer knows, good stories center around some sort of change. for a story to be successful, it has to have some sort of connection to the reader/listener/viewer.

understanding the importance of story can make people more compassionate. this is true for me especially when it comes to music. i think that music is the most personal ways that people tell their story because not only do musicians write lyrics about how they feel or experience things, but then they put music behind it which creates mood and feeling through sounds. this gives the listener more ways to connect to the song.

switching gears a tad...

as a human, i know how easy it is to be totally absorbed in my own story. having my own story makes me feel like i can be in control of at least one thing in this world. sometimes, it's easy to forget about other people and that they have stories too. this is especially true when it comes to driving: someone cuts you off and they immediately become "that idiot" when really they are probably just trying to make it in their own story. coming to this realization that other people's stories are just as important as mine happened when i started thinking more creatively about people that i encounter.

i thought about the story behind:

the man carrying a cross over the i205 bridge.
the barista who served me coffee.
the man walking down 78th street with a parrot on his shoulder.
the teenager walking to school wearing a green army helmet.

these people have stories and experiences that i will probably never know, but the fact that they are carrying crosses, serving me coffee, having parrots hanging out on their shoulders, and wearing green army helmets, makes me realize that they got to that place by a lot of experiences and choices, just as i am where i am because of experiences and choices that i've had in my life. this knowledge makes me compassionate.

it also makes me realize how little i am in the big picture. culture is made by stories of a collective group. even though i am just a little story, i am living into many bigger stories.

these are the stories of:
my faith
my marriage
my family
my friends
my church
my job
my community
my city
my state
my country
my world

by recognizing how interconnected i am with so many stories, i realize how important my life is. i have a great responsibility to live into other people's lives and live out my faith in all of those spheres.

(these thoughts were based on the discussion at my home community last night: deut. 6:2-9 (the shema), ps. 78:1-8, and this sermon becoming bilingual with the gospel and the word.)

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