I let out a terrible scream that echoed through the house.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!”
“Oh, it’s not you.” I assured him. “It’s this story I’m reading… Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum.”
I certainly was making a great impression on my boyfriend’s father… scaring us both with my reaction. Alone in the guest room bed, the covers pulled up to my chin, balancing the book on my knees, I was reliving the perils of the protagonist in this spooky tale. I hadn’t noticed the door opening and thought the voice had leaped off the page. Thank goodness we both calmed down enough to get a good night’s sleep.
I have kept that book to this day as a memory of that night with my future father-in-law. The book belongs to my husband, but he isn’t the fiction reader that I am. His stories need to be real ones… biographies, historical events. He won’t even stoop to reading historical fiction!
Fortunately we had three children who did love stories, real and imagined. Children love the fantasy. And they especially enjoy bedtime stories.
After every wildfire in Southern California, it seems like everyone has a story, even if they weren’t directly affected. No matter where we go, we hear details of evacuations or rushing home to pack cars just in case. Even the bag boy at the grocery store was eager to share his drama with us after the latest firestorm. The stories capture our imaginations and our hearts.
Where there are tragedies, there are stories. They need to be told and revisited until the tensions are released and horrors are put into perspective. Untold stories kept bottled up result in emotional shut down. Children and adults both suffer from the unreleased stress.
Not everything gets told correctly, however. And sometimes the stories are made up, not just embellishments, but outright fabrications. “Get your story straight” can mean a warning to someone who is publishing the news. But to people who are telling tales it means to remember the details and be sure to tell them the same way each time they repeat the story or they will be caught in a lie.
There are times I know for sure the story is wrong. One event that was incorrectly splashed across the evening news back in the 70’s involved my university campus. Today when asked, “How wouldyouknow?” I can confidently say, “I was there.”
There are lots of stories about Jesus. The disciples had many events to share. I can only imagine the conversations when the seventy-two He sent out returned from their adventures. Oh the stories they must have relived!
They didn’t have to make things up about Jesus either. The real stories were amazing enough without embellishments. Think of His birth, His miracles, the resurrection and ascension! And we don’t have to worry about their accuracy. There were so many eyewitnesses to the events. It’s what happened. They were there!
In fact there are so many things about Jesus and His ministry that we don’t even know. John says at the end of his Gospel that not all of the books in the world could contain everything about Him.
But I have enough… enough to believe He’s my Savior, God’s one and only Son… enough to know He gives me life.
And I have my own story, my personal “I was there” account of what He has done for me, through me, in me. It’s the one I’m emotionally charged with, the one I can share without worrying about getting my story straight... because it’s true.
The real challenge is to remember to tell His story with the same eagerness as if it had just happened. After all, for those who haven’t heard it or haven’t heard it in a grace-filled way, it has just happened for them!
Or if they are like me, they could use a refresher on a regular basis… to recapture the love that comes from the story andthe love that flows from retelling the story… in order to remember just how amazingly true it is.