From the beginnings of time, it seems to me ,humans have intuitively known that stories have the capacity to entertain, educate and heal. The plaintive child’s plea of “Tell me Story” as both a distraction and preventative measure from night terrors was an early memory of mine.
Stories were how I lost myself in the first delightful blur of the human voice taking me on a deep journey into a place or time that was unfamiliar yet so familiar.
At a very young age I was lucky enough to love deeply the storytellers in my family, and there were many. Stories were a tradition in my family. My father, the son of Celts, spun tales tall but true from a legendary past.
Some less than kind people called him an exaggerator, a colorist, a fantasist, as if these could ever be derogatory attributes. It is, I believe, the gift of the storyteller to know where to lift and to drop, to hasten toward and then to retreat from the facts and share insights; it is the rhythm of the story that must override the black notes to create the music and captivate the ear, then the mind.
Twelve step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and the millions of recoveries they assist, begin with a story. From the front of the room recovered addicts share their stories of experience, strength and hope. At first hearing, the forlorn and despairing know they are not alone in their misery and isolation. Hope flowers, fellowship develops and the yawning chasm of the addict’s loneliness begins to heal over. It all started with a story.
It is my observation that we live in a time of increasing aloneness despite more noise and chatter provided by the breathtaking but isolating technologies of our age. It’s not just that we miss hearing the stories of others but, more devastatingly, we miss the chance to tell our stories. We are short of people who’ll listen.
It seems to me with all that noise in our everyday lives we have never craved more the company of others, desperate to hear that our joys, sorrows, fears, success and triumphs are not all that unique; to understand that the essence of being human is that we share so much, have so much in common, have so many emotional responses that are not “terminally unique”. To discover that one is just human is an awakening beyond words but it is through spoken words that this discovery happens.
Tell me a Story……….