Sunday, April 13, 2008

Here's to stories

There’s something wonderful about having a three-year-old around the house. It’s the questions, comments, and observations but mostly; I think it’s the free flowing imagination. After watching “Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang” with Ethne (and 9 month old Emeline) yesterday, our car ‘flew’ to church and of course we had to sing as we flew. Then Grammy and Granddad became Mom and Dad and we added an invisible brother so we could play out the story. I was surprised when Ethne gave me a huge hug and kiss at bedtime since she isn’t overly affectionate. Afterwards she handed me a ‘treasure chest’ and I realized she was just play-acting what she’d seen the little girl do in the movie.

Well, two thoughts. First, we may actually have another actress type in the family. Also there is a very powerful influence in stories story. As a writer this isn’t a surprise but to see its affect so vividly (and immediately) portrayed startled me. Why are we so impacted by what we see and hear? Is this a part of being made in God’s image? What is it in human nature that makes us long for stories? Novels, movies, sit-coms, soaps, reality TV, news reports, celebrity pieces, stories absorb us and, like it or not, we absorb stories and in some mysterious, powerful way they impact our lives.

This means there is an awesome responsibility in the way we handle stories, those we write, or tell, read or watch. I am very honored to have a story appear in “Breakaway” this month. It’s a story about the way pornography affected one family, one marriage, one boy. Although it is fiction, there is truth embodied in this simple story and I think that the desire for truth is what may draw us so strongly to stories. After all, the Lord God is truth and each of us really need Him, right? So maybe when we’re seeking truth and the meaning of life, we are actually seeking Jesus.

Here is a verse that I am pondering and growing to love because t talks about the fruit of light being all that is good and right and true. "For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true" (Eph 5:8-9).

So whenever we encounter anything good, right or true, in stories we are seeing light, God is being revealed to us in some small way and this feeds our souls. We like to be fed because so many of us are soul starved. Some of the true things I saw in “Chitty-Chitty, Bang, Bang,” were that love is more important than money and that creativity is fun and that good wins over evil. Here’s to true, good, and right stories, of every kind, and to those who enjoy them.