I thought the words below were worth reading a second time. I find the concept of story an interesting one. We all have two: the one we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to hold the world together and the one other people tell about us. Neither is objective but that’s not the point. But how similar are they? Is there some congruence? Can we articulate our story? Does either story allow us to do more than merely grow, but to transform?
“It is all a question of story.
We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story.
We are in between stories.
The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective.
Yet we have not yet learned the new story.
Our traditional story of the Universe sustained us for a long period of time.
It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose and energized action.
It consecrated suffering and integrated knowledge.
We awoke in the morning and knew where we were.
We could answer the questions of our children.
We could identify crime, punish transgressors. Everything was taken care of because the story was there. It did not necessarily make people good, nor did it take away the pains and stupidities of life or make for unfailing warmth in human associations.
It did provide a context in which life could function in a meaningful manner.” -Thomas Berry
I thought about this yesterday when I heard the news that Walter Chronkite had made his transition. An icon for more than one generation, he told the story of America with authority. Now the all we hear is chatter. Not just more or faster, but just loud noise, reminding me of Macbeth:
“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
Being able to tell our story is important. Do we take the time to explore it, to learn where its elements have come from, to learn how to tell it to others? Can we learn from it?