Where the Beauty Is: Stories

“We tell true stories that save lives.”

This, my friend told me, was the mission statement of a church that she knew.

“We tell true stories that save lives.”

I let the words sink in, cascading into the crevices of my soul.

Yes, I thought, that is my task.  That’s why I started my blog, because sometimes the heartbreak and cruelty of the world can seem overwhelming, making each step forward feel like a slog, like we are muddling through the grossest kind of snowy slush.

I started my blog to celebrate that, in the midst of it all, there is beauty; there is joy; there is God; there is community; there is tenderness.

I started my blog because I love stories.  They captivate me, whether I am listening to the stories of my friends, a stranger or the old, old stories of my faith.  I love stories because they help me remember.  I love stories because, sometimes, they do save lives.

In the words of Barry Lopez, “Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

I know this to be true.  I remember the grief that filled my heart after the San Bernardino shooting. It was a vast, collective grief that came flowing from all the places that I’ve mourned over the years: the shooting at the Charleston church, the death of young black men like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, the terrorist attacks in Paris, Lebanon and Baghdad.

That very week my friend, the Reverend Mary Apicella, sent me a church newsletter article, which included a true story.  In this true story, a local news reporter interviewed a father and son after the violence in Paris. The son, around 5 or 6 years old, had lots of questions about why so many bad things had happened and how could they protect themselves from so many guns. The father responded by saying, look at the flowers; flowers are how we respond to the guns – and lighting candles to remember the people who are gone; everyone putting flowers outside means that hope and beauty and peace is still alive. The boy was comforted, and both the father and reporter had tears in their eyes.

The Rev. Apicella writes that, though flowers and candles cannot literally protect us from bullets and violence, they do speak to something deep within each of us – the response to comfort and wipe away the tears of others, and to keep the light burning brightly to shine through the darkness.

One light. One flower. One resolution to love at a time.

That story that week reminded me of who I was and what I was about.  It inspired me to go forward one light, one flower, one resolution to love at a time, doing what I can in my small corner of the world.

One thing I can do is share stories, stories that come from photos and newspaper articles, from strangers and friends, from the old, old pages of the Bible or the new, new circumstances of our everyday living; stories that come from movies and books, from lessons learned and mistakes made, from paths ventured and trails taken.

Sometimes we need stories more than we need bread to live.

That is why I blog.  I blog because I am looking for, I am celebrating, I am soaking in the stories in our world that save lives, that teach us what matters, that point to a life that is real and full and abundant.

Do you have a true story to tell?  I would love to hear it, because it is one way we can go forward: one light, one flower, one resolution to love a time.

Peace and blessings on your journey,

Joy Perkett

Categories: Where the Beauty Is

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s