Remember that movie Big fish?
I loved that weird and over the top movie. It was about a son trying to find truth in the stories his dying dad told him as a child. And they were… sort of.
But that is not the point of story…
His dad was a master storyteller. He told great stories that made you wonder, question reality and think about what is possible. The Son tried to disprove his fathers tall tales and set out to prove they were all lies.
We often do that.
We often go on fact finding missions to disprove some point that we find some hint of a non-truth. We look to dismiss a good story simply because there may be some detail left out or something added on. We dismiss the story because we think truth matters more than the point of the story. Every fact has to be true for it to be a good story.
Or does it?
When we fight as couples and one partner says, “you always do that!” and the other claps back, “I have done it 3 times and I can tell you when!”
You may be missing the point. And sleeping on the couch.
There is always something beneath the surface that we need to catch. The truth of what was said, isn’t necessarily the point of what was said. To the one person, the hurtful action of the other hurts them as if 'one time' was always. It was deep. The other party by going on a truth hunt, is not only adding to this hurt but dismissing it entirely.
We often become dismissive and look for ‘truths’ to avoid what is true when we don't want to love or learn.
We dismiss good stories and fact find because we don’t want to learn the lessons, look deeper or change. If we can find fault, or the truth; then we are free from the actions, lessons or change we have to make because of the story.
Truth (in this case) doesn’t set you free.
In relationships, fact finding doesn’t always lead to a better relationship.
Maybe there is time for truth and a time for facts, but only when we hear, or listen, or see through the lens of love. Then often the facts sometimes are less prevalent. Not that they don’t matter, just matter less. The point of what the story/person is trying to say now becomes the priority.
When it comes to the bible, there are so many people out there using it to hurt others by their version of the story. They use the bible as a tool to condemn others and to dismiss anyone with a different view then they have. Because for them, being ‘correct’ or certain about the bible, makes them think they are more godly or have a better relationship with God.
But again, when you think the whole thing is true, you may be missing the truth. (see Lev 19:19 which says you shouldn't wear two different fabrics. You are 99.9% wearing something that is indeed blended fabric :) )
The oldest book of the bible is Job.
Job starts with this line, “There once was a man named Job who lived In the land of Uz”
This line is setting you up to read the story differently. It is almost like saying, “In a land far away…” or “Once upon a time…”
It is causing you to prepare to enjoy a story that has truths in it. A fable, a parable, a lesson that is not about what is true (if this really happened or didn’t happen) and more about the truth the story is trying to tell us. What is this story trying to teach us about us, others and God? If you are looking at this ancient book of Job to be factually “true”, you may miss the entirety of what this whole book is about. Loss, integrity, struggle, family tension, pain...
I was talking to a friend recently and he shared a compelling story with me. He leads a spiritual group discussion. These discussions are part of the holistic therapy and he is in charge of helping with spirituality. He told me about one particular meeting where he asked the group,
“Have you ever had a spiritual moment? A moment where you were aware of something else bigger than yourself or even changed because of it?”
One man responded that it was the moment his daughter was born. It awoke something in him that he didn’t know was there. This love and awareness that maybe there was a God and it inspired him to pursue becoming a better man. It was the push he needed. A divine moment for him. He overcame addiction out of that moment.
Then another man spoke up. He was a doctor. He told this other man that he can explain all of his ‘spiritual’ feelings. He spoke of how his new enlightenment were in fact very normal feelings associated with child birth. He could explain his newfound sense of purpose as biology and chemistry. He could explain this mans profound ‘spiritual’ moment all away.
“It’s just science.”
The father noticeably upset, yelled at the doctor, “You don’t know what I felt. You can’t take that moment away from me”
My friend leading the discussion intervened. He simply said to the group,
“What is the better story?”
Is the better story the way we can explain everything away?
Is it better to leave meaning at the door and let facts/science be the truth we seek?
Is the awakening of a father to a great purpose, a deeper reason for living a better story?
Is the idea that there just may be a creator of this world and he just may want to be in some sort of relationship with us, his creation…
Is the better story the one where the girl grows up knowing that she was the reason her father changed. One where even in birth, love transformed a life and created a moment of clarity and joy where there was none.
Chemistry and biology play a part, but is not the whole.
Why is just as important as how.
Are we fact finders who have become dismissive and afraid of change?
Or are we eager to listen to stories, glean truth and have courage enough to be changed by them?
I often wonder if that is why Jesus taught in parables (aka Stories).
Did he give us a heart check right there, each time we read them?
There are parts of the bible that are story.
There are parts of the bible that are poetry.
There are parts that leave us wondering if God is who they (the writers) want him to be.
There are parts that I wish weren’t there.
But each book.
Each small story can teach us so much.
A book, thousands of years old is still teaching us about us.
Im not sure it is not a tool to fact find the mystery and condemn others who don’t see what we see.... It is a glorious story that is about us, all and how we can either choose death or life and that option is available for us all every day.
Death or life.
In this new year…
May we all be a little less dismissive, be a little more open.
May we spend a little more time sharing and listening to stories and growing together.
May we, keep expanding our stories.
May we seek truth over true.
May we swim the the ocean that is God’s love and only see others out of that place.
And may our 2018 be the best chapter yet.
the story continues…