Story Telling

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gray and grateful, I am

glad to be grandmother

holding this child who continues my story

she sleeps in my arms

as if melted and poured out,

I am melted and poured out too

 

Nothing in my life prepared me for how being a grandmother would change me.  I should have suspected, remembering the molding and mentoring of my own grandmother and seeing the love and tenderness my mother gave with abandon to my sons when she became a grandmother.  Our first granddaughter came to us when she was three, when our oldest son brought her and her mother to meet us for the first time. I enjoyed fussing over her, and when my son married the two of them, was tickled when she began calling me my Grandmother name, Granmary, instead of Mary Ann. I jumped into being a grandmother without a second thought,love, tea parties and all.  And when her sister Skye was born.12 years ago, I was ready and waiting to be crazy about this baby,  cherished from the moment of the announcement of her conception. I kept a journal during the time we waited for her birth, a practice which I continued 9 years ago with Madelyn, 6 years ago with Jordann, and this year with Nora! This is something I now realize helped me tell family story to them and to welcome them into that story. As they grow and interact with me, I have many exciting opportunities to add to our together stories!

Every grandchild that is born is another leap of heart and soul for me, each one unique.  I am changed forever in my love for them and my joy in them.  And I am increasingly aware of the importance of our story and the need to tell it.  It is another Mary Oliver moment: “Pay attention, be astonished, and tell about it.”

“My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.

Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity, as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally.

If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually. The God of biblical faith is a God who started history going in the first place. He is also a God who moment by moment, day by day continues to act in history always, which means both the history that gets written down in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle and at the same time my history and your history, which for the most don’t get written down anywhere except in the few lines that may be allotted to us some day on the obituary page.

The Exodus, the Covenant, the entry into the Promised Land—such mighty acts of God as these appear in Scripture, but no less mighty are the acts of God as they appear in our own lives.”    Frederick Buechner

 

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