The Joy of Storytelling
These lovely young ladies are my grandmother Grace and great Aunt Lilla - fantastic women and great storytellers around their lives. Their siblings shared great stories too. Clearly it's a gene. :-)
They both survived The Great Depression, a divorce from difficult husbands (though both remarried wonderful men), World War II, a rampant run of alcoholism throughout their family (note - I think that was from the PTSD of the depression and WWII) and both lost a child - one in the Vietnam War, the other had to have an abortion during the depression. ROUGH times. Hence the word "survived".
The bulk of the stories I heard from them were about the better parts of their lives. What life was like, what the people were about, the wonderful memories...things like that. They talked about the dark times, but really they had moved on. They looked at the positive of their past. Storytelling isn't just about what happened, but that regardless of the circumstances, eventually things are ok. You tell stories in times of calm. Times when you have the ability to ponder aloud and remember, and while others are listening. When I was going through my divorce, remembering that others had gone through it, (strong women I admire who certainly had it harder than I did) made it easier. Knowing I'm not alone, that others trod the hard paths before...I find it helps me go forward and to breathe. Life can be just awful, but that we are a part of something bigger and that it really IS ok - all of it - makes things that much easier.
So the joy in story telling? It's the connection. It's being PART of that story. Because we ARE. Every story we hear is one that we needed to hear. And the more we needed it, the more clearly we will remember it. Why do we remember some stories and not others? Because they mattered. Story telling is an opportunity to share what we went through so others can have that in them when they need it.. That connection to us and who we were may just bring them something they need at that time, or in their future. It may help them find joy when they need it most. The joy in story telling is the joy in connection. And like I always tell you - Connection is a big deal.