Rev.  Jan Bihl
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After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.

Philip Pullman

Speaking of stories…

...last week, my cousin sent this photograph of the long-abandoned barn and house on the farm where I lived as a child. You can see the barn clearly, and if you look past it, to the right, you can see the house. 

There are so many stories in this photo. 

If my Dad had told a story of this picture he might have said something like, “Those hills were…hard on the machinery, hard on the people who had to carry water and food up the hill to feed the animals, hard on the pocketbook…” 

My Mom would say how much she loved the farm, the work…how she loved the baking, the canning, taking hot lunches: meat-potatoes-dessert-coffee-full-meal-deal, if you can imagine, out to the field where the men were harvesting. She also loved making plasticine for us kids to play with. She didn’t mind us dressing up in her clothes and high heels, or moving furniture around to set up our playhouses for the summer. 

My sister and I would tell stories of adventures through the woods or up the hill where you could walk for what seemed to be miles and miles. 

My cousin who sent me the photo, said it reminded him of some of the best times in his childhood. He told me about how he came to the farm for one week every summer and it was the highlight for him. He would bug his mom every summer, endlessly, until she finally said yes, he could come. 

That yearly summer visit meant so much to him that he remembers it to this day, six decades later…with great appreciation, to the point of going to visit the farm and taking photographs in later years, when he travelled back to Manitoba...a trip that almost always included taking my Mom and Dad out to reminisce over breakfast.

There is power in his story and blessing in his sharing of it. Without it, I would not have realized just how much joy there was for him in spending time at the farm, in what was simple, ordinary life. Decades later, the blessing of that continues. It helps to add layers of meaning to my own story and bring perspective to the times that were more difficult. 

It matters that we share our stories. 

Sharing parts of our story is one of the great gifts of belonging in Jesus’ faith community because here we know that we are part of God’s Great Story. Here, as people of faith, we notice, we remember, we celebrate how God’s Love, God’s Spirit moves in our lives, inviting us to the places in our story where there are treasures and wisdom waiting to be found...or where it needs re-scripting.

So...how about finding a photograph of a meaningful moment in your life and sharing it with someone soon? 

Grace and Peace.    
Rev. Jan