What is it about stories? "Facts" are one thing, but I love to hear about how my mother or my friend Andy grew up slaughtering pigs, harvesting and living off the food from the garden.
I also love to hear about what it was like for my folks to face the fact of my imminent arrival: unplanned pregancy. I know that one so close to home. It's my story inside and out. One of the best stories.
And these are not just intergenerational, they're also the spiritual and emotional and practical knowledge for the next gen. Hearing my first ex-mother-in-law talk about what it was like to raise small children was – and remains – one of the pivotal experiences in my life as a father. Thanks Jane.
Lately Jane and I have been gathering the stories of her life. Tonight it was my mother's turn. I hope to travel with my father to his home town in Lüneburg in nothern Germany to do the same with him. A foto/audio exploration of the streets that raised him.
Life is grand. Life is diverse and confusing and amazing. But so much of it begins to make sense and fall into place when we listen to the stories of our elders. At least, that's what it looks like to me.
So... thanks to Jane and Elizabeth and Peter for sharing of themselves. If you're wondering about life, generally, ask your mother or father, or your mother-in-law or father-in-law, or maybe your uncle or godmother - ask them: What did you do when you were raising young children? How did you manage with not enough money? What did you do during the war (any war – or crisis – will do)?
Image by hanspetermeyer.ca via Flickr
My elders don't have "the" answers for me. They do, however, have perspectives that help me see more clearly. When the world is unsettled, it's our family stories that help to give us a sense of place and direction.