Think of a story you were told as a child. No one that was read to you- one that was told to you. What does that story say about the person who told it?
What story? When? When I was in California? In Iowa? In New jersey? Who told me the story? My mother? My father? My grandparents? My uncle? What story is worth remembering? About places? people? Things?
What kind of story? I’m not sure I can recall a story. Like, someone telling me about something? Something that happened? Or like, a bedtime story?
I can’t recall any specific story, other than how sex will ruin your relationships, or drugs will make you a homeless bum.
I have to say, the most powerful stories in my youth revolve around God, his will, his plan, and the historical progress of his will made manifest by the Jews and the Christians, the faithful believers.
The stories I most remember involved God’s chosen people, and the good or ill that came about as a result of following his will, or not. Stories of the Bible. Adam and Eve. The creation of the world, which was just 6,000 years ago, Sodom and Gomorrah, to reemphasize the damning consequences of perverse sexuality out of wedlock, or the tower of babel and soon after the flood that decimated the people god created to worship him, because he gave them free will, and they collectively chose to build to heaven, and bridge the gap between god and man. And how god choose just seven souls and their wives, along with all the creatures on earth, and put them on a boat for forty days and forty nights, where they landed on Mt. Ararat and went to the corners of the earth to repopulate. Of the prophets, and their message to cities and lost souls, and the chariots of fire whirling them to heaven, and the locusts, and the famine, and the incarnated son of god, birthed to a common virgin, who was self taught in the ways of religion, and claimed to be the messiah, the way the truth and the life, and the penalty for speaking such blasphemy, such as dragging the instrument of torture that you’ll be nailed and hung to, to the place where you’re pierced and forsaken by the very father whose will you’re obeying.
The stories of my youth were moral stories, with historical references to illustrate universe truths applicable to life today, with the intent to save my soul from myself, to fill my heart with joy, and deliver me to a salvation with gates made of pearl and streets of gold.
“If you keep getting in trouble, you’ll be working at McDonald’s flipping burgers for the rest of your life” which implied I’d be miserable and lonely, and have only myself to blame.
The story goes: God’s will, his plan and purpose, will manifest itself with whatever instrument is available, no matter the sinner or saint, animal or nature. Even sinner’s can bring glory to god, even if they die a miserable death.
These stories were told by my father, most notably, and echoed by my mother, and pretty much whatever church community we were isolated to socialize with, and relegated to live with. The pastors, their friends, the Sunday school teachers, the millionaires and recovering addicts.
The silver thread the ties all these souls is their faith. And the stories they share, of god’s will working in their life, and their faith in that will.
What does this say about my father, the storyteller?