Gift Seven: Letting a Story Inside

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Letting a story inside is one of the most wonderful and dangerous places one can go with storytelling—whether telling or listening. I can remember the stories that I have let inside my heart, mind and soul and to this day I can vividly recall the moment of their telling. Some are from as early as my elementary years with my teacher reading The Five Little Peppers after lunch recess. My young teen years when I heard chapters of “The Diary of Anne Frank” powerfully read aloud. And still others into my early young adulthood when I heard the telling of C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, and the re-telling of the Gospel of John by an actor using only a ladder and a box.

Gift 7

As a seasoned performer, the hearing of great storytellers thrills me as a listener. Storytellers like Jackie Torrence, Donald Davis, Bill Harley, Buck (Don) Creacy, Laura Simms, David Novak, Kathryn Tucker Windham, Bill Lepp, Sheila Kay Adams, just to name just a few.  They are all different and incredibly gifted at the craft.  Some use music, some are skilled writers telling their own stories, some are fable-fairy-folk-tellers telling the stories around these here parts, some are dramatic and well-spoken from the first word uttered to the last, and some are as natural a teller as one would be sitting at your dinner table!

And as a seasoned listener, there’s nothing better than a child giggling through a story they just have to tell someone!

So if someone brings the story worth taking in, letting in, opening the door for… what will happen? Nothing too scary or that dangerous.  I like to use the word “dangerous” because there is a risk involved. When one lets go of their inner critic, the bother of someone sitting close to them, the busyness of the day… when one lets go of all of that and a story is allowed to walk in and sit down in the front living room of your life, well anything can happen. And that’s dangerous, just a little bit.  What if you cry? What if you laugh really loud when no one else does?  What if it takes you to a place of pain or loss or a melancholy time gone by? My advice is simple: if it does, don’t be afraid.  Ask the question: Why was I so moved by that story? What is this story really telling me about my life… life around me?

Likely, you know already upon its finish. And if you don’t, give it a day or two.  This story that has reached inside of you will come back around. I know this because it’s happened to me. And it is worth it to know whatever this story has to tell me.

Insight is no small thing in a world that is in a hurry to say and do everything there is to say and do. It is a gift in a hurried world.

In the last six blog entries, I discussed six other gifts of storytelling:

  • Rest and the Shhh-ing of our Soul
  • Creativity and Imagination
  • Connection and Community
  • Truth and Ah-Hahs!
  • Re-gifted Reading
  • Perspective and Validation of my Story 

I am sure there are half dozen more that you would add to the list. The most important thing I hope you will remember from this blog series is this: Storytelling is a gift.It’s a gift to be received and a gift to be given away.I hope you will use it more. I hope your listening to the stories others have to tell, increases in your life.  And that the welcome of your face, your eyes, your attentiveness as someone tells to you makes the difference in their life.In my next few blogs, I’d like to explore some things about writing creatively living the creative life.And before you leave the page, could you scroll down and read my bit of prose from long ago, about letting a story inside… It’s called “Step Inside” and I really hope you do that—next time you tell or are told a story—step inside. Stay tuned and remember your story matters… it really does.



Step Inside

There’s something about a story for me.

A special invitation to come away,

Shhh… be quiet.

Crawl upon a lap.

It’s as if the world stops spinning ’round,

And the day’s trouble take a nap.

To the secret something bound and wound

In lines and pictures there,

Oh, yes!  There is something about a story,

If I allow it’s words to woo,

To tickle, tease, poke and prod the Me within the Who.

“The Who?” you ask.

Well. it’s the Who I think I am.

The Who I long to be,

The Who that’s hidden way down deep,

The Who that’s really Me.

So step inside this place with me,

It’s ours for just a blink.

A place for me and you to sit, to feel, to think.

Perhaps, somewhere within a story,

We’ll take a step or two,

Look back and see our footprints–Our Me within the Who!

Copyright 1982, 1990 Melea J. Brock

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