The Tennessee Valley woke up to eight inches of snow. I feel like I should say that again and let the impact settle in. Eight. Inches. The last snow this outrageous fell in the blizzard of 1993. More than a foot of snow packed us into the house during that one. We held a mix of emotion tied to the circumstances— no electricity, a blazing fire in the fireplace, hot chili bubbling on the Ben Franklin, and my father dying of cancer, all praying the oxygen machine would soon find power.
We can’t talk about great snowstorms without telling a story. Before daylight yesterday, the kids gathered to start their icy creations. About 10:00 a.m., I glanced out the front window and saw my husband sweeping off the cars—with my kitchen broom. Before a smile could broaden my face, the neighbors walked up to him, and in no time they were laughing and telling their own stories. I watched and listened. Tales of the great snows of the world grew bigger. At least fifteen stories had already piled up beside snow creatures and forts.
How often do we remember to stop and tell stories? Too often it takes a disaster or something similar—like snow in Southeast Tennessee. Wouldn’t it be nice to once again jump into an adventure with our kids or grandkids without a prompt from nature? At any moment we can jump into a world where dragons are real; mysterious lakes remain to be explored; and heroes are simple folk who dare to get involved.
Our visits to far, far away have become far, far too much of a hassle.
I long to mull over a nice Concord wine with friends while we laugh the hours away—one-upping each other’s account of life and love, of rattlesnakes and rhythms, of pomp and presence. What about a story during a card game, household chore, a hike, coffee? Stories always fit our activities. They are an inseparable part of every moment we live.
In fact, I believe all stories to be spiritual because they never leave us. We were created with a story; as part of a story; and are always capable of writing new ones. “In the beginning” sure sounds a lot like “Once upon a time.”
Excerpt from Equipped to Bless: Finding Relevance in the Stories of Your Life
“A small complex of 16 townhouse-style apartments sat back from the street in a U-shaped formation. In the center of the U was a grassy courtyard, and most of the occupants were young people with careers and young families.
Due to the busyness of life, most of the residents knew perhaps the neighbors on one side or the other of their unit. They might raise a hand to greet and acknowledge the existence of another when arriving or exiting the parking lot, but everyone went about his or her own business, not worrying about the others in the small neighborhood.
Then came the great snow of 1963.”