I’ve only recently realised how much impact a good story can have. Perhaps I should have seen it before, as there are many things that indicate this: films, books, tv series, songs. And not only do fictional tales grab hold of us for a lifetime, but real-life ones too. The ending of apartheid in South Africa is a story that still inspires hope. The story of each gold medalist in the Paralympics are all probably equally breath-taking too.
As I’ve been with 24-7 Prayer Stanford for the past few months, I’ve got to hear how they started many times! What is so nice to see is that even though, for us, the journey is old and familiar, for those who hear it for the first time, it breathes new life into them. And in doing so, we are refreshed a bit too! Seeing the impact our stories have on others helps us appreciate it and treasure it more. One of the blessings of being in Stanford-le-Hope is that we have visitors, which gives us opportunity to tell our story.
Perhaps when you think ‘story’, you think, ‘beginning, middle and end.’ But the incredibly exciting thing is that, really, no story has ever yet finished. I might one day tell you the story of how I learned to play guitar (it’s not that spectacular), but that story is still being written in my life today. I’m right in the middle of it, still learning and playing. Or I could tell you the story of the beautiful things that are happening with the students we see for chaplaincy at our local high school. And the awesome truth is, that story is still being written. It carries on with each day. However the story has unfolded up to now, we have the privilege of adding to it and changing it.
Whatever story it is (be it the story of 24-7 Prayer Stanford, or the story of me, or the story of us working in the local school), the story we tell today will be different to the story we tell in a week’s time, cos who knows what might happen next? And who knows how it will change the story?