“We are all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” This is one of my favorite quotes, a classic line from Doctor Who. It reminds me that we are always writing our story, and we have a say in how that story goes.
From The Three Little Pigs to The Boy Who Cried Wolf to The Tortoise and the Hare, in many classic Western/European stories there is a lesson to be learned in the end. But our real-life stories aren’t quite so simple. They tend to be much more like religious scriptures, open to multiple interpretations and offering new lessons over time.
I spent the last week of April in conferencing and training with other interim clergypeople at the annual gathering of UU transitional ministers. One of the most experienced ministers in our group shared her observation that in the interim period of congregational life, a church often needs to consider the lessons it has taken from its own stories – and sometimes unlearn those lessons when they aren’t helpful. For example, a congregation that had a bad experience with a past pledge campaign might have decided that the moral of this story is “Our people won’t pledge.” If that has been the primary narrative passed down in the church over years and across leadership, it might become unquestioned truth. The interim period is a great opportunity to step back and ask ourselves “What is our story – and are there lessons we need to rewrite in order to move forward?”
As we explore the Soul Matters theme of STORY together this month, I encourage you to reflect on your personal story as well as the story of Tree of Life. What has been written? What might need editing? And what new narratives are we writing as we move into the next season together?