Introducing my GUEST BLOGGER for May – Beckie Horter
I am delighted to feature a writer I met a number of years ago when she attended the college where I taught. Beckie is a graduate of Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. We reconnected recently and she wrote this GUEST BLOG ARTICLE exclusively for SCANdalous! And, here she is……
United by Stories
Our hearts were made for stories. Fearfully and wonderfully made, said the Psalmist. And it’s true: we were built for giving and receiving stories as a means of soul sustenance. It’s the gift of truth told, lessons learned, and humor offered to lighten the daily load.
I’ve been noticing the power of stories lately as I spend time with my 86-year-old mother. Her short-term memory is terrible. But her capacity for long ago stories lives on. She remembers days on the farm, walking to school, and what an old woman wore on the beach in 1950—a full slip instead of a bathing suit. Scandalous!
Those are the best conversations to have with her…she’s comforted by those tales. They are real to her and part of who she is. Just as all our experiences become part of who we are and what we share with the world.
“I like a good story, well told. That is why I am sometimes forced to tell them myself,” said Mark Twain.
I can relate! Even though I am shy and introverted—not the bold speaker Mark Twain was—I am often called upon to tell a story. One girlfriend, after I haven’t seen her for a while, will sit me down and say, “Tell me stories!” She wants to know what’s new, of course, but she wants it told in an interesting way.
I am happy to oblige. Telling stories, either on the page or in a small group, brings joy and unity. It takes us on a journey even while we remain perfectly still. Our minds join together for a time, and we imagine scenes and sounds, and smells and tastes that go along with the narrative being told.
When it came time for class plays, I always volunteered to be the narrator. Others wanted to have a big speaking role and fought to be the main character, but I wanted to tell the story. Because the narrator had the scoop. They kept everyone together, brought the story up to speed, and answered all the questions in the end.
I think Garrison Keillor, a modern-day storyteller, would agree. “Be as crazy as you want to be,” he said. “Just let me tell about it.”
Where do we get this impulse? This need to tell stories?
I believe it comes directly from God. He is the giver of all good things, including stories and imaginations. God’s Word is laden with memorable stories, and it was Jesus’ first choice for teaching the people.
Consider the parable.
“A farmer went out to sow his seed,” begins the parable of the sower in Luke 8. From this teaching, we understand that the seed is the Word of God, and there are four types of soil—or hearts—the Word can fall on. Shallow soil, rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil. In the end, only the good soil, or the heart that has been properly prepared, is the one that will yield a crop for eternal life.
We may conclude from this story that three-fourths of the time the Word is shared, it will not have lasting effect. Wow! So we are not to be discouraged when we don’t see change. Jesus told us that the devil will snatch it away, that some will believe for a time and then fall away, and others will give way to worry, riches and pleasures. This is a cautionary tale, too. We want to have good soil and avoid the pitfalls Jesus warns of.
We get all that from the mental picture of a farmer, seed, soil, thorns, rocks, etc. But, of course, it represents so much more! The truth that we are built for eternal life seeps into our hearts like a healing balm. We instinctively know it’s right. And it quiets the longing inside us.
A great teacher will always incorporate a story along with the lesson.
Stories work better than lectures.
Our defenses are down and our hearts are open.
And while the points in a lecture quickly fade, a story imprints our memory.
So, as summer kicks off this week, I’m hoping to build my story collection by making new memories. To journey down the road a bit and see new sights, notice something different, talk to a stranger, laugh about a situation, and then come home and tell the story.
Maybe you’ll do the same!
After receiving her B.A. in Writing from Geneva College, Beckie worked as a correspondent for the Allegheny Times. There she covered government meetings and wrote feature articles. Telling stories and loving it! She went on to proofread for the paper until a retina condition erased most of her central vision leaving her partially blind.
Following a period of adjustment and seeking the Lord’s will, Beckie once again returned to her passion of writing—albeit slowly. God showed her how to use her remaining vision and continues to open doors to spread His message of hope.
A theme she often explores on her blog,This Abiding Walk, is how God works through the brokenness of our lives. Although the subject matter can be quite serious, Beckie gives her readers comic relief and writes in a truthful and thoughtful way. Read more by Beckie Horter by visiting her blog:
Most recently, she’s been delighted to become re-acquainted with her former drawing professor, the colorful Lynda Lambert! These two find that God works in unusual ways. And they are both enjoying the journey!