Isaiah 51: 1-2
The hardest part of moving to Idaho from California in 2016 was not the packing and unpacking. We had good movers and were organized. This was our fourth move to a new location, and we had a system in place for keeping track of stuff. The hardest part was not adjusting to a new climate, and living through the worst winter in Boise in 30 years. We bought a snow shovel and then another to keep up with the many storms that kept coming. The worst part of moving was not finding our way around; the north-south and east-west streets were a lot less confusing than the maze of highways in the San Francisco area.
The hardest part of moving was that no one knew my story. No one knew my background, family history, where I had come from, what my interests and talents were, what my goals for life were, what my sorrows and joys were. Slowly over time I made connections and friends and Meridian and Boise started to feel like home. Telling our stories to one another creates community. Telling our stories is woven into the fabric of our faith. Telling our stories connects us to one another and to God.
My story joined with your story becomes a collective story of people journeying together in faith. Many people do not feel they have anything to offer. The one thing we all have to offer, regardless of background or history or personality, is our story. Stories offer continuity. Stories transmit knowledge, values, and faith between generations. One way to start is to tell family stories. I treasure listening to my father telling his stories of growing up on a farm, and all the chores he had to do and animals he had to care for. He often told these stories when I was complaining about the chores I was supposed to do at home!
We are all telling pandemic stories now, and months and years from now, these stories will grow and continue and be passed onto others. Unless we tell these stories, no one will hear them. We each have a unique perspective on this time we are living through. Telling stories helps us understand where we have come from and where we are going. Telling stories also helps us understand to whom we belong. We can be co-creators with God of bringing new things into being.
God of story, journey with us as we discover our stories. You are with us as we reflect and live into the patterns and rituals of our lives. Allow us to be open to new possibilities and new connections, so that our stories can be joined with others. Work with us, God, so that our community of stories can become beacons of hope and healing and new beginnings. AMEN.