Path 2 Story Ch. 49 “Gwendolyn’s Lullaby”

Last November I unveiled a project my daughter and I had been working on for a number of years. It all began with a declaration and/or a request. “I want to do a lullaby album, dad!” is how I remember it. “Do you want to do a lullaby album, Gwen?” is how she remembers it. Either way, from there our journey began amongst treasure-keeping-waterfalls, magical forests and mystical beaches. Mermaids, sprites, a dragon and many others greeted us on our way to find the greatest treasure known to humankind, among our common daily toil, the valued treasure of rest.

So go ahead, find a place to lie down and listen in on 8 stories and 1 hymn to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May they guide you to a priceless nap time, and may you have the most fantastic of dreams.

A word about Dreams: Sometimes, story becomes more real than our days IRL, or at least during our sleep IRL. Long before the meta-verse sought to create a convenient digital version of life in which we could live and work out our days, there was another reality sought by prophets and seers across the world and throughout history, the realm of dreams. For more than being a source of entertainment while sleeping, dreams at times unraveled the future. They spanned time and realms of reality, many of which were often beyond the grasp of where we currently find ourselves and were filled with mystical creatures beyond imagining. Yet, somehow they interacted with our story here.

Again, for children and adults alike, find that safe place and take a moment or two. Listen to Gwendolyn’s Lullaby, take a nap and trust yourself in the hands of Your Maker. Perhaps God has a dream for you.

Path To Story, Chapter 38: Take The Pebble

In my relatively short time here I have met many who want nothing to do with collaborating, including authors, business owners, or churches. Like usual, it seems to be left to musicians to lead the charge. As a musician, collaboration makes some of the greatest songs. I have had the privilege of being part of several bands, and a few made albums. I have also written some solo albums, but the ones I made with others have a team aspect that my own albums sorely miss. It is the ‘team aspect’ that my family’s story times have begun to adopt.

It could be because my stories are too slow and boring now that my kids are older. It could be now that I’ve told my kids hundreds of stories, they are getting the picture and are wanting their turn. Or it could be that they’ve seen me eat too many cold meals and they want to give me a break. Whatever the reason, now I usually only get a few minutes to set up the story, then when things are about to get good, one of my kids takes it over. No one is safe. Characters from various sources are employed to create stories, I assume, you have to be 10 years old to understand. Much like passing the baton in a relay race, only this time it gets passed before you even know it, I have taken a backseat and let my kids run with the story.

This new chapter of storytelling has revealed to me what my kids want, think about, and how they think about it. Back in the day, I would either read children’s stories to my kids, tell some from my own past, or make them up from whatever. Now, my kids are mostly done with children’s books, they have their own past to glean from, and their creativity can hardly be held back anymore. In a way, this is awesome and is pretty much the whole point. My kids still rely on me to start the stories, but now I get to witness them begin to practice telling their own. Much like a Martial Arts Master who challenges his students by telling them they won’t graduate his dojo unless they are able to take the pebble from his hand, as a parent, I don’t know of anything greater than watching my kids take the pebble from mine.

But not so fast! The next chapter will tell about how my family recently survived a 12-hour black-out all thanks to God, storytelling, and Monty Python…

Path to Story Ch. 29: Belief and Doubt, the Origins of Storytelling

As time progresses and your proficiency at storytelling improves, you may wonder how this profession began. How is it so powerful? Why do the hearts of mankind become so engrossed in what is beyond our senses? More along the lines of dreams, stories can persuade and inform as well as deceive. So what is the essence of where imagination and emotion collide with our sense of reason? How is storytelling even possible?

Storytelling is religion, and at the core of each of the major religions of the world lies a story that tells why we are here and what this life is for. Most of them are stories that recognize this life and world are broken and point to a salvation that is earned by good works. Christianity stands as the only story where Someone else earned our salvation for us and offers it to those who believe.

The origins of storytelling told to us in the Bible hail all the way back to the Beginning. In the early chapters of Genesis, we witness a cosmological war between two storytellers that forever changed the fate of mankind and the entire world.  The First Storyteller told stories that created life and brought peace that was fulfilled in intimacy with the first audience of earth, man. His story required only one thing from that audience: obedience, and for a time there was peace.

Rebellion came in the form of a serpent who told a different tale with a different purpose than that of life and peace. A toxic and flaccid storyteller, the Serpent told one that promised much but gave nothing. The Serpent’s story spoke doubt into the minds of man and stole that peace, breaking the order God had made. By giving rise to doubt, it revealed the only weakness we ever had, and now we deal with those competing stories every day.

Looking at the history of storytellers throughout the Bible can be pretty depressing.  The first storytellers of man used story to try to hide from responsibility.  We were already trying to create with our words a reality that would shield us from wrath.  I include the rest of us with them because we inherited from them the rewards of such a story, and like them, we all have listened to that life stealing story of the Serpent.

However, the First Storyteller was not finished with His tale, and it was through this weakness that the depths of His love came to light. For the love of God spoke of another story, a story that reached further in and revealed that though the Serpent’s story exposed our weakness, God’s love through His Son Jesus used it to bring an even greater and eternal life for those who believe. Through Jesus, we have a story of divine love that redeems us and gives us the best of all endings.

Belief and Doubt still stand as the two opposing forces of mankind. They provide the essence and create the landscape where imagination and emotion collide with reason. As you create stories for your children there is no better backdrop than the rescue story of Christ. It gives hope and value to this life that forever lifts us from the consequences of the tale of the Serpent.


Path to Story Ch. 19: Holding a Spark

Here is something you’ve probably already figured out that I should have mentioned a while ago since this is my first time being a parent.  I really have no idea what I’m doing and have no experience with the long-term effects of my choices.  But that’s the same with everyone.  It is possible to learn from our elders, but be wise in the “what” and the “who”.  We are all here, that’s what we know.  Do we want to enjoy the time we’ve been given?  I do.

I know each of our stories are different, but a unifier is that Jesus saved us all.  His salvation freely offered opens us to hope, and hope ignites our imagination, an imagination that is not held by the constraints of this world.  Because of Jesus, I can imagine.  Because of Him, I have more to look forward to than dirt and worms and with my imagination, when partnered with my faith, I can see it.  The Bible further tells us that He offers us even more now during our daily lives.

My story, in recent years, has been of battling a debilitating disease.  Others have children who were born with all kinds of challenges.  Many have the hopes they’ve imagined for their kids taken from them before their child breathes their first breath.  For those of you who are there, your imagination combined with your faith in His goodness can bring you to places this world will never know and may never understand.

We’ve each been given a path we never asked for.  So in a way, envy and jealousy are pointless and are ultimately forms of madness.  But we’ve also been given the power to change things.  Any limits to that power have more to do with the constraints we shackle ourselves with than the unyielding and unrelenting bonds of reality.  If there is anything we can learn from the story of Man’s ingenuity, it’s that if we don’t give up and give in to hopelessness or have a fragile understanding of what is possible then we can become shapers of reality instead of victims of it.

Story is one of the most readily available tools we have to become shapers.  Imagination is what gets you there and faith can bridge the worlds together.  God spoke this world into existence out of nothing.  His forming and shaping of reality is so amazing it still today and every day inspires people to worship.  The power to create by speaking into existence is truly awesome.  Through storytelling, we get to hold a spark of that Divine Intervention.

Speak a story into existence, take your place as a shaper and inspire those under your care.  They will see how you brave the rapids around you.  They will become equipped to do the same when it comes time for their turn.