Gift Four: Truth and Ah-hahs!

Posted | 0 comments

There is a mirror near my front door that I pass by every day. Sometimes… several times a day. It’s handy too.  I can smooth my hair, put on a dash of lipstick, and check my reflection before dashing or opening the door to a familiar or not-so familiar someone.

There have been times when the reflection has checked me, if you know what I mean. I’ve looked at a worried face, a hurried person, a confused face placing something in the mail basket that sits beneath the mirror.


Gift Four: Truth and Ah-hahs!

Stories are mirrors, too.  They reflect back to us their characters, pictures and story lines and what I like to think provide more than a few “Ah-hahs” in our lives. An ah-hah is a reflection in a story that brings us encouragement, the surprise of genuine joy, a solution to an issue, an “Ah-hah, I get it now!”  There have been times when the reflection has provided a warning to me and there have been times when a story has taken me back to the pain and disappointment of my story and said, “Look, look one more time… it’s safe to look.”

Folktales are great ah-hah stories. The folktales of old were stories that spoke to the listener in an in-direct but familiar way. Obvious themes of un-selfishness, beauty, serving others, integrity, prestige, position, acceptance, the power of money’s hold, love, and the list could go on and on.  They were told around the common fire–indoors around the home fires, at the table, the sides of beds, and along the road.  We often find similar folktale versions in other countries because they were memorized stories—not out of book—but told by faithful patriarchal and matriarchal family member. Yes, there were those traveling storytellers but who better to tell the story of the German folktale, “The Wooden Bowl,”(add a listening link for this one from my folktales audio)—a parent or a traveling entertainer? The telling might have been memorable and well-performed by a bard (a storyteller), but the parent or grandparent was there in the house the next day when the questions came or better yet, the insight into the story’s truth began to unfold.

If truth be told…

One of the wonders about a story is that it is retained by the mind until it is ready for a deeper examination.  A story that we heard weeks ago will fly back into our minds and nest there at some of the most mundane times.  There is shelf-life in a story that gets inside of our story.  And that’s when some of the best ah-hahs come forward.  Rarely, do they happen in those moments of the telling, but more so when we are quiet and doing something as mundane as driving a long stretch of road, washing the pots and pans from dinner, watering the lawn, or folding clothes.

You probably have heard quite a few of those TIME + DISTANCE equations (some of them are very funny). But as an educator, a parent, a mentor, a pastor, a communicator we know too well that listeners need time and distance away from the information/teaching to absorb and truly learn from it. It’s the same with a story. If we have done everything we know to do to tell the story is such a way that it can find its home in our listeners, then we must respect the possibility that we may not (likely will not) be there for the big ah-hahs and revelations of truth that brings a listener.  And that’s okay. Did you hear that?  That’s okay! Trust the story.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog… Our fifth gift in The Seven Gifts of Storytelling is Re-gifted Reading!  Until then, may the story you live out today change someone, I know it can.


Leave a Comment

Join Our Mailing List
We respect your privacy.