Every day around Watertown, people write stories. School kids in classrooms, grad students in cafes, professionals in their home offices, and lots of others. On any day of the week, if you gathered folks who had written stories that day for an evening of reading their work, it would be amazing.
I recently heard about NPR’s current 3-minute story contest. The judge for this round is Luis Alberto Urrea, who says, “All stories happen when the old way of life doesn’t work any longer.”
I think that’s true not only for fiction writers, but for all of us on our spiritual journeys. My sense is that often, when someone shows up at a church of a sudden, they’ve left behind a way of life — either intentionally or because they’ve been edged out of it. They have a new story starting to write itself inside, and they want a group of folks to hear it, help them give language to it, and celebrate it.
During Holy Week at church, we tell the heart of our shared story. It’s a story that can’t be told in 3 minutes. We give it 3 days! It’s a story about a way of life ending — a way of individualism, violence, and empire — and a new one emerging — a way of self-giving and freedom, a way of reconnection with self, others, and Source.
It’s a story that needs more than words to tell, so we use symbols, song, food, silence, bells, and tears. We tell some of it in the dark and some in the light of the day.
What is ending in you? What is emerging? What way of life wants to be written through your life?