I’m writing this blog just before the national election and it will be posted the day after. So as you read my words, some of us are pretty depressed, the world spinning toward its destruction, some of us are still dancing in the streets, the world having avoided destruction, and a think a good portion of us simply happy the election is over. Wherever you find yourself, I’m sure you’ve heard about how divided we are as a nation. We’re blue and red, left and right, liberal and conservative — I could go on and on.
What does bind us together? A number of things come to mind, but today I’d like to lift up Story.
As a child, Story connected me with my mom and dad at night before bedtime. My dad died a number of years ago, but I still recall his goofy story every time we’d pass a falling rock sign on the road. I’ll share the short version, given he liked to tell this story over many miles to distract two board kids.
An Indian boy (it was the 60’s so native american wasn’t in his lexicon) goes deep into the woods in a test of manhood. He is called Falling Rock (dad would alter the story about the origin of his name, I think depending on how long he wanted to make the story and what he had for breakfast). All of his friends returned home, becoming braves, but Falling Rock did not return. (An imaginative list of places they looked for him would follow.) Even today, the tribe searches for their lost son. And look. There’s one of their signs asking for our help. “Watch for Falling Rock.”
Yes, I know. A groaner. But many years later, I remember being in the backseat of a car listening to a story I had heard many times, groaning at the end and sharing a moment with my dad.
We bind ourselves together with story throughout our lives. Recalling scenes from TV shows and movies, sharing books with each other, listening to a grandmother or and uncle share some bit of family lore. And so, in a time when “divisive” seems to be ascribed to many things, I want to lift up Story and the people who make Story possible. The storytellers, screenwriters, novelists and other authors who bring us into their unique world (yes, even Falling Rock’s world) and the readers, viewers and listeners who take their precious time to join us in our Story and share the Story with others.
The thing binding us together is ancient, maybe primordial. We gather around a campfire for warmth and protection. Then a Storyteller begins to weave a fantasy which for a moment, takes us out of our everyday existence, transporting us to places we may never see with people we may never know. And when the Storyteller says those final words ‘The End’, we discover not only have we been entertained, but we have also found a community.