Every day, I wake up to the same song for my alarm.
You strive, o man, and you strive again, your heart too proud to rest
It’s an ironic way to wake up and I love it.
I check my email, see if anything exciting has happened in the news, struggle into my clothes and coffee and begin a new day. I read my bible, brush my hair, eat my cheerios and walk the few feet to work to prepare for the 13 beautiful lives about to walk through my door.
And for the rest of the day, I tell stories.
I tell stories to try to get them interested, like about which multiplication fact is my favorite and why (it’s 56=7×8 because 5678 is a cool fact. 12=3×4 is similarly cool.). I tell stories from the Bible to teach them to learn from the histories given to us. I tell stories about watching butterflies break out of cocoons and of all the universe working together during science. I read stories that other people told in writing and in language arts, about toy rabbits and third grade girls and everything in between.
And in the eyes of the students entrusted to me I have learned that the story is in the telling.
I can watch their eyes grow wide with wonder as I retell the story of Jacob wrestling with God and walking with a limp for the rest of his life, limping around the room as I do and talking about the blessing and reminder even in the limp. Or I can watch their eyes glaze over and slowly close as I read from the science book, trying to get through the required curriculum as quickly as possible.
The story is in the telling. And the telling is only possible if the story is a part of me, something I have lived or created or loved.
My students love to tell stories too, stories of the families they love or of what they spend their time doing or how some small part of their life intersects in some small way with what we might be talking about, maybe. Children are born storytellers. Everything they are living is new and worth sharing, and they have no self-consciousness about the worthiness of their stories. If they have lived or created or loved it, it is a story, and stories are meant to be told.
Some days it feels like I have told all of my stories, that I have nothing new or creative to share with the world.
But the story is in the telling. So today I am telling myself stories of things I have lived and created and loved and they are good.
Some time ago, Someone Else began a story with and it was good. It has been a story of creation, of love, and above all of life, and He is still telling it.
Tell your story like it’s worth telling. Because it isn’t a story unless it is told.