Our son, Ben, and his partner recently bought his sister a birthday present: a charcuterie board and a candle. It took her about a minute to open the gift. It took more than 5 minutes for Ben and Chantal to tell us the story that came with it.
They purchased the items at a gift shop in a nearby town that is full of interesting little touristy shops. When you walk in to Farmhouse in Provence, the shop looks like a lot of other gift shops: candles, soap, linens, stoneware, pottery, and a hundred other things. The difference is that, when you pick something up to look at it, the owner, Connie, is delighted to tell you where it came from, and who made it. Nearly every item in the store comes with a story, because Connie cares enough to know who makes the things she sells.
Connie sells soap and candles. She offers something much more valuable: stories and connections. Ben and Chantal didn’t just buy a charcuterie board and a candle; they bought a little piece of Connie and her connection to the board carver and the candle maker.
It is the nature of soap and candles to disappear in the accomplishment of their purpose. It is in the nature of stories to endure and shape reality in the accomplishment of theirs. The power, resiliency and enduring nature of stories is one of the reasons why what stories we choose to tell matter so much. Life-giving or otherwise, stories endure.
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