I haven’t been writing as much as it’s been a busy few weeks with lots of thoughts and changes, plus lots of contemplation as we lead up to holy week, so in continuing my acceptance of the imperfect, I’m just going to throw out something specific that has been on my mind. My generation is criticized a lot for how much TV we watch. We are the beginning of the digital, screen obsessed culture and we have found solace from our dismal job prospects in binge-watching Netflix. However, television (and streaming it online) is just a more recent medium of comforting ourselves through stories, something we’ve done for ages, right?
I am a storyteller- it’s my vocation. Whether that’s telling my little one bedtime stories, telling my students stories that may function as mnemonics or help them focus, or telling stories through acting in or directing plays.I believe with every part of me that stories have a capability of changing our lives and the world around us. I think words have power and empathy is key.
After undergrad and before grad school I was in a pretty cynical place. I watched a lot of TV as a means of escape, but what I ended up finding was that if I chose quality stories, I got a new dose of hope. And most of those stories led me back to my faith. Stories of forgiveness, stories of love, stories of selflessness. Some of them didn’t even seem appealing or make sense until I tried to watch them again at a different part in my life.
Jesus told stories to teach. Even if the people listening didn’t always get them right away… or even centuries after. Or to put it in much more heady terms, I’ll end with this Tolkien quote:
“The Resurrection was the greatest ‘eucatastrophe’ possible in the greatest Fairy Story — and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.”
But my favorite part of good stories? the way it brings people together. Whether it’s via phone to talk about this week’s episode, watching together, or even flying or driving out of state to celebrate a finale of a show that has a special place in your heart. Stories and community, it keeps coming back to that huh?