Before twitter, before Facebook, before the internet, even before books (imagine that) historical tales, family history and the stories of entire peoples were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.

Before twitter, before Facebook, before the internet, even before books (imagine that) historical tales, family history and the stories of entire peoples were passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Today’s employers sometimes bemoan the verbal shortcomings and narrative skills of the workforce. We’ve seemingly done a lot of backsliding from our past when that was the only medium that kept history alive. Today there are so many ways to tell our story impersonally. To those mentioned above we can add e-mail, texting and any number of messaging systems on social media platforms. There seems to be no end and no limit to the devices and ways we can invent to communicate without making any connection with each other whatsoever.

Look at me

Today, to the majority of people’s animosity toward public speaking I think we can add a true distaste to look someone in the eye as we talk to them. Why else do you see entire tables of people at restaurants, coffeehouses and public places all looking down into their cell phones, at times communicating with someone they could literally reach out and touch? Looking someone in the face seems to be a risk we’re no longer willing to take for if we look at someone as we speak whether we’re explaining something, sharing an experience or pleading our case in a discussion there is the possibility that they will not “get” us. They may be unmoved by our discourse. They may disagree with our stance. They may even show disdain for us personally. And we just can’t take that.

Accept Me

No one likes rejection. Surely our fragile egos and self-images would be done irreparable harm were we to suffer a dissonant response. Our psyches and our confidence sways in the social breeze like so much grass on the prairie, blown about, bent down in whatever direction the wind is headed at that particular time. Truly, the attempt to dredge commitment to a position, investment to an ideal or being sold out for a cause is exhausting and for those of us searching for resiliency the journey seems hopeless. We are desperately searching for something real and not something from a reality show.

Tell me your story

For those of us interested in a spiritual meaning that goes beyond mission statements and sermons and even scripture we rely on those in the community to tell our story, the story of our faith. These very real stories relayed to those we see hurting become even more meaningful because the storyteller looks us in the eye and tells us their experience which is often difficult, painful, unflattering and wrought with miss-steps and misdeeds. Beyond the cathartic experience of the storyteller however, admitting our fallibility allows the receiver of the information to be vulnerable also. It is in this common confession of our weakness we realize we are all alike more than we are different. The meaning we seek exists in this epiphany.

It means something to me

This “aha moment” comes to us not in pat answers or motivational sayings or even deep thoughts such as the discourse above but in personal communication and connection that can only be accomplished in a heartfelt message. It is our story that means something to people. In fact now, maybe even more than ever we rely on the one to one interactions to tell each other about who we are as Christians. This is not a wall built in sections, in a day or by a team of masons but by one person talking to another and laying surely and securely one brick at a time. This requirement means also that we must possess courage.

I know it’s not easy

Looking someone in the eye takes a willingness to be uncomfortable. Beyond putting ourselves out there (out where exactly) we must go to a place of vulnerability, a place where we are not strong, where we are exposed. Truly, to even get to this ethereal place takes time and commitment, both scarce commodities to be sure. Still, unless we’re content to have relationships that are a mile wide and an inch deep, this is the only way. Here’s hoping that you have the time and the courage and the commitment to those you come in contact with to tell your story. It’s only with all of these that we have the hope of achieving true meaning and significance in our lives.

All of our stories are full of truth and meaning and worth. What’s your story and why do