I love how a great story is called a yarn. Why? Because, as knitters know, yarn takes you where it wants to go, just like the best stories.
Today I got to watch a woman’s face as she listened to a story on the phone. I couldn’t hear the other voice at all, but I could see the story played out. It’s a wonder watching one side of a tale sketched across features worn richly with compassion. We know our parent’s and grandparent’s faces this way probably because of all the stories we’ve watched them tell. You can always see the every punctuation, every sad detail as the eye’s grow distant and the quiet creeps in. Listen to someone you love tell you a story today, and watch as if your ears are turned off. Feel it rise and fall.
Why does it matter – listening to a story but also watching it as it unravels? We need to listen to each other’s stories. Jesus knew this. Oh, perhaps the parable is an illustration of one of the oldest teaching tools, and he was brilliant, naturally divine, but it’s more than just that. Stories are serum and salve.
Have you lost someone? Do you still tell the story? Do you know how many times you’ve told it? Each time it’s found its way to your mouth and floated up to a person you trust, that person either took it to their heart or let it fall between you, uncherished. You see how that happens?
We are powerful. We have these moments every day when we can see that a person is trying to tell a story that needs telling, trying to wind the yarn from strands into garments, and they don’t know if anyone cares. Today with my friend on the phone, I watched her kindness, and I recognized its rarity. The gift she gave a storyteller. And it inspired me to listen better.