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Is yours a story-telling family? In my own family, one parent told many stories of a childhood of hijinks and near misses living in Irish Catholic, lower-working class, urban New Jersey. The other parent told almost no stories at all. Later, as an adult, that parent told me they were a survivor of childhood trauma, and spent a great deal of energy blocking out events and periods of time; those growing-up stories simply weren’t available for sharing.
I begin with this personal circumstance because this month’s theme of story–especially the invitations throughout this packet to craft and share family stories–is going to be experienced differently by each of us. I want to acknowledge that fact, and ask you to join us just wherever you are. What we’re hoping to be able to do together is to focus less on the stories we’ve inherited, and more on the stories we help co-create. Sometimes that involves being more conscientious about the stories-in-process, the ones we’re living out with our children in real time. And sometimes that involves refocusing our memories of events or circumstances to center the narrative that is life-affirming and valuable to the people we are blessed to be becoming.
As is our way in Soulful Home, we’ll be approaching our theme playfully, joyfully, thoughtfully, and with curiosity this month. In our Bedtime Story, you learn about the first storyteller, Crow, and consider together how stories have shaped our societies over time. In the Extra Mile section, we describe easy-to-make story baskets, and share a crowd-sourced list of stories that religious educators across the continent feel to be foundational to our UU identity. Around the Neighborhood, we explore our own places through the lens of story, perceiving our neighborhoods not as invisible backgrounds to our individual lives, but as settings for the unfolding plot in which we and everyone we know are characters navigating conflicts and making meaning.
We at Soul Matters are blessed to be a part of your UU story. Thank you for weaving this tale of faith-filled family life with us.