At this time of year I’m reminded of the time I took my young daughter with me for a quick visit to a funeral home…not really anyone she knew so I didn’t think it would have an impact. On the way home she became tearful and said she didn’t want to die. Not anticipating this at such a young age, I began searching my mind for something I could use to comfort her that she would understand….the Easter story came to mind.
We were not church goers but the preschool had been teaching the Easter story so I knew she would be familiar with it. When I told her about the resurrection and that Jesus really didn’t die but came back again in a different form, I could see the tension in her face leave as she contemplated the whole story. It was enough to comfort her and dissolve some of the fear…after all everyone she trusted was telling the same story.
What this incident reminds me of is the significance of stories for things that are fearful and unexplainable. Some keep the same beliefs throughout their lives and are comforted by them with no desire to change the story line. I have changed my comfort story many times throughout my life….even realizing they are comfort stories can create another story.
With things that are unexplainable, the best we can do is in the form of stories, metaphors or pointers. I can get caught up in arguing the validity of certain stories but at this time of year I am again reminded that it probably doesn’t matter about the content of the story because in the end it’s all about the comfort of the recipient.
6 responses to “Tell me a Story”
Reblogged this on The Retired Seeker and commented:
My stories have changed yet again even since last year when this was posted but the reasons for stories will never change.
Agreed, and of course William James covered the pragmatic benefits of using religious narrative in his book ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’ – a quite wonderfully written and exhaustive study of the subject in my humble opinion. With gratitude and respect, Hariod Brawn (retiree).
So good to hear from you again! And this post about the quality of narrative that provides a happy solution to a complex problem. David Loy wrote a slim volume about aspects of the story. It comprises a series of quotations but carries so much insight: The World is Made of Stories, David Loy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-World-Made-Stories-David/dp/0861716159?ie=UTF8&keywords=the%20world%20is%20made%20of%20stories&qid=1459468019&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1
Hi There! Thanks so much for the tip of David Loy’s book on stories. I’m definitely going to check it out!
If you get it on Kindle, you can copy the sections you like by taking a screen shot and putting that through OCR software. Good only for small sections, because it’s a slow process…
Thanks! I just got it on kindle yesterday! I’ll give it an”shot”.