Ever since our ancestors could first communicate, we have gathered to share our stories. We have passed along stories illustrating our faith and the tragic stories of love lost. We have repeated accounts of real heroism and simple stories of family history. When our forebears lived closer to the land and to each other, the practice of storytelling was full of ritual and was seen as a special occasion. Members of the family group would often gather around the fire to hear their genealogy recited aloud by an elder or master storyteller. Listeners could track their own lives, and the lives of their parents, as they interwove with the lives of the other members of the extended family. It would often seem that everyone’s ancient relatives once played out similar life dramas together.
As a custom, some cultures’ storytellers repeat the same tale over and
over because they believe that each time you hear it, you come to the
story as a different person and view it in a new
light. Telling the stories again and again helped younger generations learn so that they could pass
them to future generations.
When we hear others tell stories, we can laugh at their humorous
adventures, feel the thrill of exciting encounters, and learn from the challenges they faced. Though most
of our formal traditions of storytelling are lost, it does not mean we they cannot be revived.
These traditions draw us closer together through our shared ancestors and histories. Perhaps we can see some of their strengths in ourselves and in those closest to us. In choosing to honor this practice we connect to our shared human experience and see, once again, God's hand in all we do and who we are...