The Power of Story

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I don’t actually remember if I was read to a lot as a child, but my soul seems to think that’s true. I do remember my dad telling me that I learned to read very early, mostly to try to catch up to my brother’s reading level. I might still be doing that! ūüôā I definitely remember being a voracious reader from early on and that has only exponentially increased in my life.

I seem to have this deep deep¬†hunger for ideas, input, and story. There is so much power in story. Whether it be the actual telling of the story with its introcate¬†attention to detail, it’s building crescendo, and beautiful¬†resolve. Or even the lessons and life application that is so easily accessible¬†in story. I can’t quite verbalize it, but the power of story is profound.

As much as I am drawn to books, music, and art that tells story. I am drawn to people as well. I see so many faces on a weekly basis and know that each one of them has their own story. My kids laugh at me because often when they are upset at someone from school, or even a rude stranger in public, they will hear me say, “They have a story.” It’s my motherly way of teaching them compassion and tolerance. Understanding that you don’t know the story behind someones rudeness, selfishness, or anger. Sometimes stepping into the mystery of someone’s story can change your perspective.

This exact thing happened to me yesterday. I was leaving Gateway campus after a challenging day and I was running late for lunch with my family. As I passed the steps and was only a few feet from the parking lot, I noticed out of my peripheral vision a couple sitting on the bricks, their heads were hung, and the woman was crying. I had never seen either of these people before, but my soul jumped to life. There was a story so compelling that I turned around and stopped at their feet. I told them that I noticed the tears and felt really drawn to stop. They graciously allowed me to interrupt their very intense moment. The young man began to unfold the preface to the story.

He has been coming to Gateway for quite some time. He is trying to find God and trying to build a relationship with Him. He just can’t get past the stereotype¬†of Christ-followers who are judgemental, uncaring, and hypocritical. For those of you who don’t know a lot about Gateway, it is not your ordinary church! Our pastor tells the story of Gateway and our “Come as You Are” culture and philosophy in his book, No Perfect People Allowed. So, to hear someone who has been around our community for a while and is struggling to find authentic Christ-followers, drew me in to his story even further. He proceeded to share with me his major trust issues and the struggle he is having with finding a real relationship with God. I invited him to enter into a dialogue with me about it in the coming months and he accepted. It’s interesting to me how a story can so quickly and so radically change¬†my perspective. I was also reminded freshly how important it is to see people, really see people.

What about you?¬† Do you live your life in a way that tells a story? When you see people, do you see them as someone who has a story to be told? Does their story compel you or invite you to stop and see them? Sometimes stepping into the mystery of someone’s story can change your perspective.

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