Monday, February 25, 2013

Je suis un conteur.

Most of the stories I tell aren't my own. I tell other peoples stories. I try to do them right, to show the heart of that person, To go deeper than just the physical, deeper than just what can be seen on the surface. I try to dig into their story and understand the story from their point of view, to see where the importance lies for them.

Sometimes this is easy. Most times it's not. It takes time and trust for people to open up that way. It takes patience on my part to accept the answers people give to my questions. It takes perseverance to keep asking questions until I find the way into the story. It takes gentleness to hold back from digging deeper when the nerves of pain are exposed. It takes wisdom to know how to view pain in a person and the triumph. It takes discretion to know how to leave a line of questioning before I cause more pain and harm.

Sometimes I come across a story that moves me. More realistically, it grabs me by the throat and demands that I change. I heard a story like that this past week. A story of war, pain, survival, death and new life, hatred and forgiveness, the evil of man pitted against the grace of God. I think how can I tell a story like this? Just one of those subjects is worthy of the most skilled treatment and careful exploration to reveal the deeper truths within. But to tell all of them wrapped up into one? Impossible.

Stories like that force me to change. The force me to see myself as I am, to remember that I am unable to tell stories. I lack the ability to dig into a persons story and tell its truth. I don't have the patience, perseverance, gentleness, wisdom, and discretion that these stories demand. And yet stories are being told. Despite my inability these stories of change are changing people.

And that's my story. I am the story-teller who couldn't tell stories but did anyway. I tell stories of change because these stories have changed me.

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