Gift One—Rest and the Shh-ing of Your Soul

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Welcome back… I am so grateful that you have returned to read my blog.

If you are new to Your Story Matters, it is my desire to encourage you as a storyteller, as a writer, and, together, find ways to communicate our thoughts concerning stories within the context of our faith in God.

Over the next several blogs, I’d like to share The Seven Gifts of Story. Ponder them with me and let’s see where they take us.

Gift One—Rest and the Shh-ing of Your Soul  [audio:|titles=Gift One]

When was the last time someone said, “I’d like you to go rest for a little while and just refocus.”

I can hear your response already: “Hah! It’s never happened! … I‘m so busy.”

Over the many years of telling stories, I have had the joy of watching an audience enter a moment of storytelling, … unaware of what will transpire in the next moments, hour.  Distracted children become focused and content, teenagers and young adults turn off their cells, anxious and weary adults begin to relax and enjoy this “once upon a time” moment, once again. It’s story time on the rug and everyone’s invited and important! What a beautiful thing.

#Snapshot!# I like to take a mental snapshot of these moments because in our very wound-tight, too-busy, electronic hand-held tool driven culture, these moments are few.

At the top of one of the chapters in my book, “Step Inside,” there is a quote from a parent:

“I haven’t relaxed like that in a long time,” remarked a grown man carrying a slumbering child after one of my Storynight concerts.  “I guess I needed this even more than she did.”

So, when was the last time someone told you a story? When was the last time you sat someone down and told them a story?

Here’s some of the wondrous benefits of a quiet moment of resting… listening to a story—

  • A singular focus is created in that moment: I listen, you tell, or I tell and you listen.
  • Relationships are strengthened.
  • Imagination is engaged.
  • There are wonderful physical benefits, such as one’s breathing slows down and becomes even, a sense of well-being and relaxation, distractions dissipate as one becomes singular in focus as a listener.
  • And, we get a take away!  You know, kind of like the treat bags at a birthday party… the story has not only provided entertainment, but the possibility of learning something. Like a mirror reflects our face, so can a story reflect some part of one’s life as we quiet our soul to reflect.

Every so often, there is wonderful, sacred and unmistakable moment that happens in a large setting, and often in smaller storytelling settings.  There is a quiet—an uninterrupted moment after the last and final words of a story.  My listeners are resting in the story.  And I try my best not to break this moment.

Another #Snapshot!#

I would encourage you, as a teller and as a listener, to rest in those moments after a story finishes.  Just rest.   Shhhhh… let the story speak.  Often we will hear a few more things whispered into our soul.

“They” say we’ve lost our front porch, our community narrative, simple human kindnesses and generosities.  And “they” say we do not know how to focus and be still, because we are in constant distraction.

I have a remedy for this critique of our current culture and our constant distraction:  Story.  Story.  Story!

Whether it’s from a treasured or new book, a magazine, a personal journal, a memory from one’s living story, take the moment and tell a story today,… or ask that awesome and wonderful question from long ago, “Would you tell me a story?”

I am certain you will find rest and a shhh that will refresh your soul as you rest in a moment of story.

Our next blog in “The Seven Gifts of Story” will be Gift Two—Creativity and Imagination

May the story you live out today change someone… I know it can!



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