The Story Unfolds

Stories Worth Telling is the topic we’re exploring this semester, and while the messages focus on biblical stories, we accompany those accounts with anecdotes from our own Lighthouse members, so we get the best of both worlds by comparing the old and the new stories. Because let’s face it; while it’s beneficial to learn about the trials biblical figures face, sometimes it’s hard to relate to dudes like Nicodemus simply because of the vast differences between time periods. Cue Lighthouse-goer to give us a real-life account of a similar experience they’ve had, which really brings the message home. We can all learn from each other, because all stories are worth telling.

To kick off this semester’s blog about story-telling, I’d like to spin ya’ll a little yarn about some tales that were woven during fall retreat last month.

(DISCLAIMER: no names or specific stories will be mentioned during the course of this blog)

As a new member of Lighthouse leadership, I had yet to experience the awesomeness that is Fall Retreat, and even more outrageously, I had never participated in a Moth Storytelling Hour. This is basically a time when the group convenes and the floor is open to anyone and everyone who has a story about their life which they feel like sharing with the group. As is expected with any group of college kids, the stories covered a wide variety of topics that ranged from the innocuous to the grossly over-detailed; some were extraordinarily embarrassing, some evoked riotous laughter, and some were just downright not right. Yet on some strange level, all of them were relatable—applicable in some form or another to each of our own lives and experiences. Even the ones which weren’t so funny, the ones which caused the room to fall as silent as it would get during the course of the weekend, the ones where you had absolutely no idea that the person was going through something that serious and heart-wrenching…you could still relate, even if you personally hadn’t experienced something similar, because each of us have gone through tough times or know someone who has. The sharing of these stories served the purpose of showing us just how human each of us are, that none of us are in this alone.

When I finally plucked up the courage to tell my story, it wasn’t one of personal suffering or a life-changing event (although there was a viable moral to my tale). No, I got up there, in front of 30 people, and told the story of how I was once on a tour boat, nonchalantly blowing a bubble with my chewing gum, when the wind stole my bubble….only to land on the hand of a very confused old Japanese man…while two French exchange students laughed at my indiscretion and gave me judging looks.

Okay…so maybe not EVERYBODY can relate to having their chewing gum land on a random old person, but I think I can safely say that everybody has done something embarrassing before. And I can also safely say that I made 30 people laugh their guts out at me, but unlike the French students, they didn’t give me any judging looks, because many of them had shared stories that were just as embarrassing, if not more so. And I gotta say, there was no better feeling in the world at that moment than making these 30 people, the people who shared some of their funniest, most embarrassing, most deeply guarded stories with people they had only just met, laugh at something stupid I’d done. This time of story-telling was the perfect way to draw us all together—and that’s really the point of these retreats.