“Stories are all around us,” writes Glenda Bonin. “They reside in people, places and things, and are waiting to be discovered.”
So true! So true!
Not just stories.
Take a fresh look at possessions you could never give away or throw out.
What do you store in a special drawer or even in a safe deposit box?
What items would you stash in a safe place if tornado sirens sounded? What would you grab if your smoke alarm went off?
Look around and identify something you’ve owned for years and used a lot.
If those items could talk, what stories would they tell?
I think about that question a lot.
This week I gave away a set of dishes to a family that lost everything in a fire. I tucked a note inside the box that read:
“I bought these dishes in Africa and we used them during our seventh and eighth years there, and here in the U.S. all these years since. While you use them, ask yourself, ‘If these dishes could talk, what stories would they tell?’”
Someday—soon, I hope—I want, I need, to write stories based on my old blue American Tourister carry-on bag (a gift from Schiefelbeins—thanks, Rick and Marilyn!). It has has traveled with me for 19 years—from this planet’s most primitive places to this world’s most sophisticated cities—and what stories it could tell! Not just stories, but God-and-me stories.
What stories would my husband’s grandmother’s aluminum colander tell? My mother-in-law passed it on to me 45 years ago. Ah, yes, it could tell stories—five generations of stories!
Look around your house and ask yourself, “If this dining room table could talk, what stories would it tell?”
“If my old Bible could talk, what stories would it tell?”
“If these boots could talk, what stories would they tell?”
What about a photo? A photo album? A book?
A piece of furniture? A washing machine?
A piece of art? Jewelry?
An old coffee mug?
“Think about what they represent personally,” Glenda continues, “… aware that every item represents a story.…”
“Don’t be timid about interviewing yourself and others. A good interviewer asks questions and waits for answers.… Listen deeply, allowing as much time as needed for quiet moments of thought. Do not rush in with a new question until you are satisfied that the question has been fully explored. It is not unusual for one question to lead to another.… These moments are often where the best family stories can be found.…” (Glenda Bonin at Storyteller.net)
I like Glenda’s suggestion: Interview yourself, and “Listen deeply, allowing as much time as needed.…”
Then write your stories, but not just stories. Write God-and-you stories.
Remember, while you have been enjoying those common items—the dining room table, the colander, the old boots, the carry-on bag—God has always been with you, working in you, working on your behalf.
Stories are all around you. You don’t need news-making miracles to witness God at work. He is in your everyday comings and goings.
Like Oswald Chambers says:
“We look for visions from heaven
and for earth-shaking events
to see God’s power.
Yet we never realize that
all the time God is at work
in our everyday events.…”
Write your stories!