How could stories, all stories, have any common voice at all?

On the back cover of my book, Once Upon A Time, a collection of short stories for those trying to find their way home, it says,

“Stories have always been about us, a mirror in which we can see ourselves — our hopes and dreams, but also our greatest dilemmas.”

“Since the dawn of man, stories have been pregnant with meaning, much of which has gone unnoticed. But if you are willing to slow down and listen more closely, stories will meet you in the very places you need them and guide you home where you will be healthy and whole.”

We just spent the last three newsletters slowing down and listening more closely to The Polar Express. I’ll bet there was more to think about and consider, hidden in the narrative, than you’d previously thought. Or maybe, it’s only obvious I believe there was more to be found there. You may not be convinced.

Maybe it’s more accurate to say — we can all have opinions about the meaning of certain things, and deeper symbolic meaning, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

Over time I hope to demonstrate that the “truths” I find in this story or that, are not just my opinions, or even my opinions about God; but are consistently present in so many different stories, so specific, and so compelling . . . you wagree there’s something greater behind it. We may not agree on what that something is, but we’ll have made a start.

And so, I will continue to examine the claims I have made about stories in a logical fashion to see if they stand up to any reasonable objections (feel free to email me with any comments or questions); but also continue to intersperse this dialectic with anecdotal evidence, stories like the ones we have discussed – the parable of the prodigal son, the story of David and Bathsheba, The Wizard of Oz, and The Polar Express. In this way, I hope to prove my case.

I made some very sweeping claims in the statements on the back cover of my book. Let’s look at them more closely. You might be thinking to yourself:

How could stories, all stories — which are written by different people, with very different personalities, and very different reasons for writing the story they did – have any common voice at all?

And storytellers might not agree, at all, on what any of us might need. But even if they did, they don’t all get together and decide to write very similar things.

And when you say that stories, all stories, speak to us about the most important and critical things in our lives, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean to imply we all hope for, dream about, and struggle with, very similar things?

And I would add that we have also discussed the idea of “home.” For some reason this word touches us deeply. Questions remain about what home truly is, how we “left,” and what it means to “return.”

There are other questions that could be asked. One more thing for now. Everything we have been discussing implies there is a “conversation” of sorts going on between storytellers and their audience, not only the conversation on the surface we’re aware of as the author speaks to us through his words — but another conversation, one that is hidden, metaphorical and symbolic. A specific conversation about the most important things in our lives.

This may be the most surprising claim of all . . . “if you are willing to slow down and listen more closely, stories will meet you in the very places you need them and guide you home where you will be healthy and whole.”

Quite an incredible claim, is it not? But what if it’s true?

Next time, how my love affair with stories began.

Sam

Welcome, I'm Sam!

A fellow traveler on this journey we call life and this path we call the Christian faith, wanting to share the incredible things God chose to reveal to me. Stories have always been a mirror in which we can see ourselves, if we only look more closely. We are all like the children of Israel in the wilderness, wanting and needing to establish ourselves in the promised land. Stories can help us to get there, and to flourish there.

I can't wait to get to know you!

Best,
Sam

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