The writer, Leslie Marmon Silko, wrote, “Let me tell you something about stories…they aren’t just entertainment. Don’t be fooled. They are all we have, you see, all we have to fight off illness and death. You don’t have anything if you don’t have these stories.” Stories are what weave our lives together. We are made of stories. They tell us where we came from, who our people are, who we are, and what we value, hope for, and aspire to. Human beings have told stories for as long as we have had the physical capability. We tell stories to explain the unexplainable, to tease, to teach, to pass on wisdom and truths, to entertain, to draw a circle of intimacy, to challenge and inspire. When we die we may leave behind many material things. But what remains of us is not physical. What remains are the stories of our lives.
November is the time of the shortening of days, the lengthening of night and the onset of darkness. It brings cold and wet and drives us indoors. What if in these darkened hours we told one another stories. Maybe a child could ask a parent or adult who lives with them to, “Tell me a story about a time when_______.” You get to fill in the blank. Or pick a topic like “fire” or “being scared” and everyone in the room tells a story about the topic. Maybe you can create a story with a group of people by passing words and sentences and paragraphs around and around, all the time adding more to the story. Maybe in this season of winter holidays, you bake or make something that an ancestor taught you to make and pass it down another generation. And as you bake or make; you remember that ancestor and tell stories about them.
Stories are precious gifts. They reveal our truths even when they do not contain facts. They create an intimacy and a connection. They are powerful in their telling and what they can evoke. When all else is lost, story is what remains…
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,