To Be A Storyteller

21 10 2010

A long time ago in a far away place there was a collection of storytellers; they traveled from here to there and further down the road. Sometimes they told their stories to large crowds; sometimes one-on-one. The size of the audience didn’t matter, all that was needed was a listening ear.

Some stories do not sit well on shelves, not the kind that are still alive. Not the kind that are provocative. These are the kind they told; the kinds of stories that mean something, even if you only knew it when the story rang in your ears long after.

Storytelling was their profession, and by profession I don’t mean one’s occupation whereby you support yourself; but the life and the act and the priority of weaving words together such that people can’t help but listen. Storytelling, in other words, was first. How important are stories? Are they practical? Are they necessary? Apparently they thought so because storytelling, to them, was not a once-and-a-while kind of thing; it was their life; or better said, it was life.

I would have liked to have been there; to have heard these storytellers “live.”  Now I read about them; for example in Acts 4:33. It says that there was a grace upon them; much grace. What does that mean?

  • There was this “merciful kindness” on them. This seems to be prerequisite for those who wish to have a story heard. Stories can’t be forced on people; people have to want to hear; wanting comes from being welcomed in.
  • Grace, this outside influence, helped them tell stories that were holy. There are stories that are informational, and then there are stories that are transformational; their stories, as simple as some may have been, as ordinary as what just happened that day, landed on the souls of people. Even plain stories had a quality about them that wouldn’t go away; they kept speaking long after the storyteller had folded up his or her chair.
  • Grace fed the storytellers; strengthening them to keep talking, learning, loving, changing. The stories and their life became one. The stories changed their life and their life became part of the story.

May such grace be upon me; the storytellers of old put theirs in my hands and before they turned, left instructions: “To be continued.”

— Teresa Klassen

 

 

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