“Come, rather,” then she said, “dear guest, and tell us
From the beginning the Greek stratagems…”
The room fell silent, and all eyes were on him,
As Father Aeneas from his high couch began…
Virgil, The Aeneid

Each of us has stories: the stories that are chapters of our life.

To hear another’s stories is to enter the drama of his life. Often, it is also to learn a part of our own story.

Yet the lives of many of those closest to us—including our own parents and grandparents, or our dear friends—can remain a closed book to us.

It is in our power to open these books, but it will take a specific effort. We have lost habits of story-telling and of generational sharing. Our elders have no expectation that we want to hear their stories or that there will be a context for them to be heard.

The young will need to take initiative in expressing interest and in making such contexts. Those who are older (even if not very ‘old’) will need to step forward; you have something to say that needs to be heard. The time is now; connections need to be made.

What was it like growing up where and when you did? How did you meet your spouse, or your friends? How were you educated? Where did you work? What adventures did you have? What about the stories you heard from your elders? To those who love you, these stories are life-giving, and only you can tell them.

What better time to make space for story-telling and life-sharing than at our Thanksgiving gathering? It will take some effort and some re-arranging of our plans. But the pay-off will be beyond reckoning.

Virgil (70-19 B.C.) is the great Roman poet, author of The Aeneid and The Georgics.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Living as a Household of One

Living as a Household of One

“…and the association of living beings who have this sense—of good and evil—make a household…” Aristotle, Politics The fact is that many people today end up living in a house alone. Sometimes it is by choice. Other times it is surely not, and the house has echoes of...

read more
Restoring Respect for Elders

Restoring Respect for Elders

“Might we not say that filial piety and respect for elders constitute the root of Goodness.” Confucius, The Analects The alienation between young and old is at times palpable. It’s not usually open disdain or hostility. Rather there is a real disconnect, as each group...

read more
The Amazing Gift of Gratitude

The Amazing Gift of Gratitude

‘Do you wish to repay a favor? Receive it graciously.’ Seneca, De Beneficiis There is usually more than meets the eye in the wonderful realm of benefaction-- doing favors or good deeds for others. In any benefaction freely given there is the possibility of a unique...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest