Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stories to Tell

I can still feel her smooth skin, stretched taut under the weight of my hand on her arm. How her gleaming eyes lay shuttered, still and closed beneath the fluorescent glare. My beautiful, cuddly, graceful mother had been reduced to something I could hardly bear to look at. But His love beat feverishly in my chest. His love for her through me, His love for me through her. I sat in the darkness surrounding her bed, song pouring forth from my open mouth, lips wet with salty tears.

"All that is within me, Lord, will bless your holy name... I live my life to worship you alone."

I didn't know what to do but that. I didn't know if she could hear me, and there were long stretches of time I didn't know if He could either, but my heart knew its song and my tongue obeyed.

Sometimes I'm scared I don't know when to keep my mouth shut. Not necessarily with regards to other people's business (although I know the spindly vines of gossip wrap themselves around me more often than I'd like to admit), but sometimes I wonder if there aren't more things I should keep to myself. Stories seem to pour out with a regularity and fervor that frequently surprise and exhaust me. Things that I thought, Oh how special... I find consuming my next conversation with a dear friend. Often I look back with a twinge of regret, wondering if I should've kept that dream/ story/ thought to myself. Was it something precious that God had whispered in my ear, entrusted me with, that my loose lips had cheapened with their overzealous flapping?

I think of Joseph and his brothers-- was he wrong to share his grandest, God-given dreams to his nearest and dearest of kin? I can only imagine that had I been in his place my siblings would only have been the first to know, and I would have proceeded to inform the entire household, all my friends, made a t-shirt and written a blog (with pictures!) about my mystic dream! And would that have been wrong? Obviously Joseph faced some pretty ferocious repercussions from his exuberance because of his brothers' shortcomings and jealousies, but does that make him a poor steward of the treasures God filled his heart with? God's purposes worked themselves perfectly through Joseph BECAUSE of who he was. Not in spite of it.

I am a storyteller. As an actor, it is my responsibility to represent the story of a person within a larger story as being told by the author to the audience. As a woman I've often been surprised when, at the end of one of my (many, mile-long) fables, a friend with a listening ear will stand back and say, "You're a really good storyteller!" What?! I just can't stop talking...

(Even now I think, Oh geez, here we go again... Can't you keep anything to yourself? )

And maybe I can't. I don't know. Perhaps this rudder of mine, this small flame (James 3) needs to be reigned in a little more. But all I know is I'm wired this way: I've got stories to tell, songs to sing, words to be woven... They seem too big for my spirit and imagination to hold and come spilling out of me. And until I hear a "That's enough, sweetheart," from the voice that sings these songs over me, my stories will continue, and my tongue will obey. I can't promise this will always be inspirational or logical or spiritual or deep or uplifting, but I give you my word that I will always be honest.

So stay with me... There's more to come.


Nii Lartey said...

JD! thanks so much for sharing your stories :) I'm privileged to put this very first comment on your blog!

Girl Friday said...

Where would we be in this world without our storytellers? I feel so relieved to know we have such a talented and gifted storyteller to make us think and feel! Can't wait to read/hear more! :)