Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wednesday with Words - The Power of Story

I am  really enjoying Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry.  It is taking a little while to get through because I keep getting distracted.  I was convicted by this passage about the role of family stories. 

But did we tell the stories right?  It was lovely, the telling and the listening, usually the last thing before bedtime.  But did we tell the stories in such a way as to suggest that we had needed a better chance or a better life or a better place than we had? 
 I don't know, but I have had to ask.  Suppose your stories, instead of mourning and rejoicing over the past, say that everything should have been different.  Suppose you encourage or even just allow your children to believe that their parents ought to have been different people, with a better chance, born in a better place  Or suppose the stories you tell them allow them to believe, when they hear it from other people, that farming people are inferior and need to improve themselves by leaving the farm.  Doesn't that finally unmake everything that has been made? Isn't that the loose thread that unravels the whole garment?  
And how are you ever to know where the thread breaks, and when the tug begins?
I believe I have been telling stories that don't show thankfulness and contentment with the blessings I have been given.  My stories speak more of "what ifs" and nebulous dreams than enjoying life with people and community I love.  I tell about the great "adventures" of my friends while thinking our life is pretty ho hum. Am I passing on a spirit of discontent and a sense that others are better?

How much better to live it this way.

This is my story, my giving of thanks.  

Glad to gain this insight now.  On to being doers not just hearers.


  1. I've been listening to an audio of Jayber Crowe by the same author. I think reading the book would be better as he does write in a way that requires some reflection. Good thoughts.

  2. Good food for thought. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. This is profoundly true and haunts me. It is one reason that we have to approach homeschooling with humility and not as debunkers who tear down everything that came before.