Monday, October 8, 2012

Inspiration Mondays: Data With a Soul

I love stories. I've loved them since I was a little girl. One of my earliest memories is of my brother and I making recordings of us reading storybooks on tape. I loved reading them, and, from the time I learned to write words, I loved writing them. And I love, love, love listening to them. Even when I cannot understand the language of a storyteller, I am usually entranced by their voices and by their gestures. While I am so desperately wanting to know what they are saying, I find myself laughing at their jokes, or my brow furrowing with their sadness.

My whole childhood was filled with evenings where I sat politely in the living room while my family entertained visitors. I listened to all the gossip and all the stories about the births, weddings, deaths, and ghosts in their lives.

I have been marinated in tales.

I recently heard a story about a man in Cape Breton who helped out family by giving one of their children a brand new set of hockey gear when she joined the local league... just because he wanted to. Besides it being a touching story of kindness, I was struck even more by the man himself, and the way he talked about it. Just one invitation to talk about how life was different now from when he was a boy brought out a lovely narrative of the Cape Breton he knew. I listened to his words, his accent, the lilt of his voice, and I found myself smiling, my face uplifted, absorbing every single word, feeling the familiar warmth inside of me that I feel when a story is entering my mind, entering my body, becoming part of me.

Today, I am inspired by the storytellers I have heard throughout my life, and by the ones I have yet to hear. I believe that stories teach us, inspire us, heal us, instill healthy fears, rev us up to revolutions, and change us, even in the tiniest ways. And, even though it would be quicker and more efficient for someone to say, "Do this," or "do that," when the "data" comes to us in a story, it enters our souls.

Perhaps this is why there are so many stories and parables in religions, why they permeate every single culture. And perhaps this is why social media is so powerful: because we all want to tell the story of our lives, and, whether we mean to or not, we tell it on our Facebook walls and Twitter feeds and G+ posts.  And it's why I have this blog: because I don't just want to talk about knitting. I want to tell you the story of how these sticks and string made this sweater and scarf and shawl, because it's not the garment I'm wearing. I'm wearing the story of how I untangled thousands of yards of yarn, or the adventure I had on the way to the shop, or of the sheep or rabbits or alpacas that made the fleece.

I feel quite strongly that I was put on this Earth to tell stories. And I feel strongly that I was put on this Earth to learn as many as I can to pass on. Recently, I volunteered to go and collect photographs at a seniors home to celebrate a centennial here in this town. And while I did get a few photos, I collected far more stories. And tonight, I feel like I could do that again. It might be just the thing to get me out of the rut of my own worries for a while...

Perhaps that is how I can live happily ever after.

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