For reasons best forgotten, we went to a different church for worship a few Sundays ago. That church has three pastors on staff. The one preaching that morning had been a lawyer for 20 years before going into the ministry. She preached on the necessity of “telling the story.” She did so without telling a single story. Not even a hint of one.
She presented a cogent and articulate legal brief to the jury in the pews, trying to persuade us, beyond a reasonable doubt, of the rightness of her client, the story, But she never told a story. Not one.
I think about this as I read again medical doctor Rachel Remen’s wonderful Kitchen Table Wisdom. In it she says, “You are a story.”
Not you have a story, but you ARE a story.
Just as CS Lewis used to say, “You are not a body that has a soul. You are a soul that has a body.”
Even after death, your soul goes on.
Even after death, your story goes on.
Not just in the remembrances of others. All of us will be forgotten sooner or later. But that does not end our story, for it does not end THE story.
We are remembered for a while, though, and recently I have seen a number of interviews in which people are asked, “How would you like to be remembered?”
That got me to thinking that perhaps we should have bumper stickers for caskets, something that would express our epitaph in visible form for all who mourn. Then I remembered that Helen and I will be incinerated and our ashes mingled so that our family can scatter them together in a place that was important to us, so we won’t have a casket for a bumper sticker anyway. But if I had one, I think I’d like for it to say, “He tried his best to be sure that everyone was included in the story.” By telling a story. A story that includes everyone.
John Robert McFarland
“Now I Know Something You Don’t” [Epitaph on a grave stone.]