I remember first reading John Eldredge's words and giving myself permission to adore the story. Not to hold that truth hidden secret in my heart, but to grab it and wave it bold for all to see. (In fact, it kind of creeped me out a bit - he listed every single one of my favorite movies, right down to The Last of the Mohicans. How could he know, so fully?). Eldredge's words about Story helped me to understand that while I find the occasional chick flick endearing, it is the stories with an epic nature that draw me in and keep me. They stay with me, almost hauntingly so. And that is okay. Good. Wonderful. How it is supposed to be. These Stories have fostered a desire inside of me that burns for something epic in myself. If you will indulge me to quote a little from Eldredge's book Epic:
Quote: "Notice that every good story has the same ingredients. Love. Adventure. Danger. Heroism. Romance. Sacrifice. The Battle of Good and Evil. Unlikely heroes. Insurmountable odds. And a little fellowship that in the hope beyond hope pulls through in the end.
Am I right? Think about your favorite movies. Sense and Sensibility. Don Juan Demarco. Titanic. The Sound of Music. Sleepless in Seattle. Gone with the Wind. Braveheart. Gladiator. Rocky. Top Gun. Apollo 13. The Matrix. The Lord of the Rings. [Little Women. The Last of the Mohicans.] The films you love are telling you something very important, something essential about your heart. ....
All of these stories borrow from the Story. From Reality. We hear echoes of it through our lives. Some secret written on our hearts. A great battle to fight, and someone to fight for us. An adventure, something that requires everything we have, something to be shared with those we love and need. ......
What if all the great stories that have ever moved you, brought you joy or tears -- what if they are telling you something about the true Story into which you were born, the Epic into which you have been cast? (End Quote)
I adore how the yearnings in my heart for Story, for Epic, for Adventure, Romance, something that calls for all of what I have to offer -- they have been placed there by my Creator. And I am to awaken to the realization that I am part of a Story. I am one who learns by illustration and by doing. I love that I have this example from God Himself.
Today's post is Post 4 in my Project 26, and this week's prompt was Stories. I wrestled for a while, oddly enough since my byline is 'I am a Storyteller', about how to capture this theme. What to shoot? And then suddenly it became clear.
I love stories. Good, deep stories. I love to read and I voraciously pour through novels. While Shawn has been thrusting a ball into the kids' hands from early on, anticipating the day that they caught his fever for sports, I have been awaiting the time when they yearned to sit in my lap to read stories. When I could share with them my love of reading, my utter adoration for the written word, and for Stories. Grand, Epic Stories.
We have read to the children since they were born, but around Little Buddy's birthday in October I started to feel this revulsion inside if I had to read Bear Snores On or Gobble Gobble Crash one more time. After five years of this, I am just burned out on these simpleton books. I enjoyed them, I did, the first 1000 times I read them, but at some point, I needed something more than this, and I felt Little Buddy did as well. I had started to read some stories with more meat to them, like You Are Special, and he was staying with me. (I have not yet once read that story and been able to suppress the sob that erupts within me while reciting the last few pages). He'll sit there as long as I want to read, especially at bedtime. So for his birthday, we purchased some real, true Stories for him.
A few months later and we have almost finished The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We purchased an illustrated copy, and it has some beautiful images, but it is most certainly an all words book. And he has sat there beside me and listened to it. After we finish a chapter, he will beg me to keep reading, and most nights it is all I can do to tell him no (because he does need to rest), because I want to keep reading the story myself! When I finished the first chapter he said to me, "Mama, I think I've seen the movie for this book." Indeed, he had. And that told me, he was listening to me, and he understood. Of course he will not understand the allegory for some time to come. But I want to put this story into his heart now. And it overflows my own heart with joy that he is loving the story and the connection, with me.
We've also started reading the Boxcar Children series and he seems to enjoy these very much as well. I love the ideas of adventure and initiative these stories invoke. And I love that he has to use his own imagination to illustrate the story instead of being provided one by an illustrator.
So for post 4 of 26: Stories, I wanted to capture our newfound foray into true Storybooks. May he one day, too, understand the parallel between our heart's yearning for an Epic Story and the Story that God has already placed us in.
Continue through the circle to see how Lora Swinson | Shawnee, OK Photographer, views the theme of Stories.