We spent 10 days with John and Sherrie and Mimi and Tim. I've known John since WVU days and Sherrie has been our friend since we moved to CT in 1980. Jack, Sherrie's husband couldn't go but she came anyway.
What I noticed about such old friends is that we share 'stories' from over the years. We needn't even tell them--there are key words and hints that make us think of them. Stories are the glue that holds community together, stories are the context for the content of life, stories are the web of relationships.
Of course our daughter knows most of the stories, even the ones she wasn't around for and Tim, her boyfriend, is a quick study and picks up on the narratives, becomes a part of the web easily.
Tim and Mimi have been together long enough that I should call him her 'partner', I suppose. Tim and Mimi stories are part of the context of our shared lives.
It is such a joyful thing to be around people who 'know your stories' so well they become their stories as well.
And we laughed about 90 % of the time we were awake and probably in our sleep as well. Laughter can be fraught with remembered pain or with the memory of great joy. Laughter is a web of relationship as well. Sometimes, with some people, most every thing makes you laugh....
Heinrich Ibsen said once, "there is no pain that cannot be borne if you put it in a story and tell a story about it.' That's one of the wisest and most profound things I know.
Somewhere in here about stories is a paradigm for the community of the church. Maybe someday I'll get around to making the analogy.....
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