Stories we tell more than once

A young woman asked me yesterday morning if I would preach/teach sometime on her favorite scripture.  The verse is Matthew 6:21: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (CEB)

The obvious take on this interprets treasure as money and material possessions. Consider this less obvious take.

Last Thursday I attended a memorial service for the mother of a young woman in our care. We arrived more than a half hour early for the service and so had the opportunity to meet quite a few people.  After making the rounds of greetings, I sat quickly, almost meditatively, appreciating the beauty of the small sanctuary where we gathered.

As I sat, I also listened.  Among the other things I heard, one thing stood out to me; the story told by a woman who had been the managing conservator for the deceased woman.  Her husband had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks. In fact, he had, just the day before, regained consciousness and thus had been moved from ICU into a “step-down” area.

I heard key words of this story at least half a dozen times.   Every time she greeted another person, she was asked how her husband was; thus the re-telling of the story.

At the meal offered following the service, I received the story myself.

I felt it was a privilege to her this woman tell the story of her care for her husband, even in the midst of grieving to loss of another for whom she had cared for so many years.

Back in the sanctuary, though, overhearing her tell the same story multiple times, I was reminded of the value of telling our stories to others.  It also struck me that some stories are worth telling more than once.

May we all have the grace to listen to one another’s stories – especially the once that need to be told more than once.

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