The Story Teller
I love stories. We all do. The question of why we love them is an interesting one.
We love a good story because stories imitate life. The reason books and movies move us is because they allow us to process life through others. We understand the obstacles characters are facing and the tension they are attempting to resolve. For this reason, we might say we love stories because we all know how complicated life can be and it makes us feel hopeful when others succeed.
Stories also deliver adventure. Murder mysteries, science fiction and historical novels all lead us down a road with an uncertain outcome. Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put down? The author cleverly held your attention by crafting a plot and you couldn’t quit reading, or a movie producer kept you on the edge of your seat because you couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. Perhaps stories with adventure satisfy our desire to fulfill our dreams, whether or not we are able to invest the time and money to pursue them on our own.
But we mustn’t think stories have to have a well-developed plot to keep us engaged. There are others factors. For example, a small child will sit in his mother’s arms and listen to her read the same simple picture book night after night. He might like a particular picture or the way his mother pronounces a certain word, but it is possible that is as deep as it goes. It is enough his mother is holding him. In fact, her loving arms are a part of the experience, just as taking others with us to a movie makes it more enjoyable. Stories give us an opportunity to interact with others. The dialogue around the story can be as important as the story itself.
In C.S. Lewis’ On Stories: And Other Essays on Literature, he wrote, “To be stories at all they must be a series of events: but it must be understood that this series – the plot, as we call it – is only really a new whereby to catch something else.” This “something else” is the foundation of story as told by Jesus.