“From whence cometh my help” is a memory exercise. As the Webb telescope probes deeper into space, it reveals more of the Universe’s history. When I probe into my past, I find stories. The earliest ones were read to me from story books. When I was old enough to ask questions, grandparents and older neighbors answered with stories. The Bible, the Quran and other sacred writings contain records of who did what to whom, lists of rules, and (best of all) poems, songs and stories.

Some stories are more helpful than others. I invite you to ask yourself, “Which stories are helpful to me?” Which are your foundational stories? Mine include stories of leadership about people like Jethro and Moses. Some are familial, like my uncle describing his service in two world wars. Some are my stories, like listening to JFK’s inaugural address, or his Cuban missile crisis speech, or the Zapruder film of the presidential motorcade passing through Dealey Plaza.

Both sets of my grandparents had porch swings. My memory bank is full of stories heard while swinging, standing, or sitting on those porches. Some were stories of self-deprecating humor or good-natured poking at others. Laughter is therapeutic. The best stories are love stories. They help us find identity, a sense of belonging and gratitude for the gift of life. Good stories help us feel loved. They motivate us to love our fellow creatures. Which stories in your memory bank have helped you?

My Uncle Odie once said, “I’m the luckiest man alive. I was in two world wars and never hurt a soul. As an Army medic in his 40s, he survived the Bataan death march. This story about his contemporaries, 77 military nurses, gives a flavor of that difficult time. From “Nurse POWs: Angels of Bataan and Corregidor,” The National World War II Museum, May 5, 2021

2 thoughts on “Stories”

  1. I treasure the stories my parents told me about their early years. They created a foundation for my sense of family, and I am grateful for it. I still see my dad’s surviving family members every year, and feel very connected by the past we share.

    Liked by 1 person

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