Monday, April 20, 2020

How Stories Bring Meaning When Life Seems Meaningless.

Tired of Being Out of Control?

The Coronavirus has put me on a rollercoaster of emotion. I’ve been determined not to let it get me down only to find myself depressed and full of despair at how it has robbed me of my normal life. It’s taken the life of friends, family, and the family members of dear friends. Each day I go between feeling numb with sorrow over the losses and overwhelmed with gratitude for my faith as it gives me comfort in ways I cannot explain yet cannot deny.

But what about those people who don’t share my faith? They don’t receive comfort from my faith-talk. In fact, it can be downright insulting to them. I have friends of all faiths and many friends who practice conflicting views of Christianity. If we were to meet in one room together, (after the social distancing has been lifted of course), to discuss our faith, I wouldn’t be surprised to see many plastic smiles between some of them at best and all-out brawls with others at the worst. What could possibly bring us together in unity with comfort and hope? One thing alone: the power of story.

Stories Delight, Unite, and Ignite Us
Good stories do three things that nothing else can do. First, they delight us. They provide entertainment when we need a break from the chaos of the world. They let our imagination visit foreign lands, fly to distant galaxies, or travel through time. We engage in wild adventures in a matter of hours and come back unscathed yet wiser and braver than before. And we need this distraction to give ourselves a break from reality. Second, they unite us. No matter what our religion, politics, culture, or age, a good story transcends all these divisive factors. We could sit in a movie theatre (once social distancing is lifted of course!) with people we vehemently disagree with in everyday life, but the movie brought us together like nothing else could. Finally, good stories ignite us. After reading an uplifting book, we are forever changed for good from the message learned, the values taught, and the principles honored between the pages. Whether we realize it or not, good stories can connect us to each other and lift us through times of great trial if we let them.
My Coronavirus Playlist

I’ve been revisiting my favorites this month and thought I’d share insight with you in the next several blog posts. My desire is to give you a reason to feel hopeful during this unprecedented time. I’m not going to recap stories. You can watch the movies in your time. I only want to highlight certain scenes that are meaningful and life-changing. Maybe by reading my thoughts, you can take whatever wisdom is downloaded to your heart to help you get through today or tomorrow.

Here are the first three I’ll feature: The Lion King, The Hobbit, and The Sound of Music. Let me know if you have a favorite, and we can enjoy the meaning together.

We will get through this, one story at a time.

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