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Reclaim the art of storytelling

Reclaim the art of storytelling

The Rev. Paul Kowalewski promoted his latest blog post with this provocative tweet:

“Re-imagine the church? Reclaim the art of storytelling.”

In the post “Telling Our Stories”, on his blog “The Desert Retreat House”, Kowalewski remembers hearing stories in his childhood:

The stories told around the table recounted the simple everyday events of the day- what happened at work, a conversation about meeting a neighbor at a local market.  Sometimes the stories took a more nostalgic twist. I remember my grandmother, who was a particularly good storyteller, regaling us with tales of her childhood days. My mother would also chime in with stories about growing up in her native Wales.  On and on it would go until it was time for me to go to bed where I would think about those “table stories.” They were a great comfort to me in the darkness of the night.  

Now, many years later, as I recall those tender, poignant memories of telling the stories of everyday life,  I have some insight about what was happening around that table. Our stories were connecting us together – weaving us into a fabric of relationship, and although I hardy knew it back then, the stories were perhaps my first window into an abiding Holy Presence in my life. 

When I was six years old, my parents bought their own house and we moved away. One of the first things they did was buy a wonderful, exciting new invention called a television set. There weren’t a lot of stories told after that.

The memories of those early stories continued to influence Kowalewski, and he has continued to appreciate stories throughout his life: making time to tell his stories, and trying to get others into conversation where their stories are shared.

But, when it comes to hearing other people’s stories, I am feeling kind of “story deprived.”  Every day I have lots of discussions and plenty of conversations with people, but I don’t hear a lot of storytelling. Maybe people are just too distracted by the technology of the day; or maybe, people don’t think their everyday stories of ordinary life are interesting enough to share. 

The truth is that in our stories of everyday living we find the greatest poetry life has to offer – and every story anyone has to tell has something important to say.  The stories we share weave us together in relationship.  Our stories are windows into the Holy in our lives.

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