I wrote an earlier blog attributing much of my love of storytelling to Ida Mae, my next door neighbor when I was a child. One of my favorite books, The Spirituality of Imperfection, Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, reminds us of our common struggles, fears and aspirations through storytelling.
As I participated in the Pritzker Military Museum and Library’s Holt Oral History program this month in Chicago, I was struck yet again, at how important listening and telling stories can be for our personal and cultural development.
Stories from the great traditions lift and remind us that our struggles are not new. Stories touch our hearts and remind us of our common humanity regardless of the origin of the faith tradition, the culture or the age of the story. We read and tell our children priceless fables, our own childhood stories and as they get older, encourage them to tell their own. Those stories tell us what they’re thinking, love and fear. As adults, we’re no different. We tell our own stories to teach and share of inner most thoughts, concerns and hopes.
For me, I turn to stories from all genres, some holy, some ageless folk and fairy tales, some from my grandmother, Nennie, my friends, and new authors.
Everyone has stories. As a culture, I’m convinced we’re at a time when listening to one another’s stories is paramount and will bring us closer together, lift our hope, reboot our compassion and remind us that we’re more alike than different.