kindled. produced by Christine Benz
Last Thursday night, we took time to tell stories. Everyone loves to hear a good story; moreover, everyone loves to tell a good story. Whether it's to a large group or to a few close friends, there is something special about crafting a tale full of suspense and wonder. Humans are storytellers by nature. We want to feel heard and valued. There is something unique about looking into a friend’s eyes and knowing you have them completely captivated. Stories are essential to our nature because stories are essential to God’s nature. All of humanity is a divine novel. God uses man as a living narrative, to tell of creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. Man tells stories, because we are living stories.
On Thursday night we decided to give the freshman class an opportunity to share their stories from the past year. We, the Freshman Leadership Team, wanted to have a time to relax and reflect on the past year. We decided to gather around a fire with an open mic for students to share their stories. We spent the evening rigging Christmas lights and tiki torches, hooking up a sound system, and preparing our fire. To top it all off, we invited Pelican’s Snoballs to make snow cones for everyone. We set up everything, sat around the fire, and waited for the freshmen.
Slowly they trickled in and got their Snoballs. The energy started to build. With a big freshman paper due the next day, this was the first time many students had been out of the library all day. They spent time mingling with each other around the fire and enjoying some time off. After a while, as things started to dwindle down, we moved into a time of storytelling. We opened up the mic and freshmen started to tell stories of their year. Some told of ways they had grown over the year, of difficulties the community had helped them through, and others told silly stories about them and their friends. Not everyone had something to share, but those who did impacted me greatly. Not because of the stories they told, but because of the people who told them.
I could see change from who they were at the beginning of the year. One student, who began the year rather selfish, told a story about a trip he and his friends had taken to the river, and in his voice I heard distinct love for his hall mates and friends. I heard humility in the voices of guys who had once been proud, and grace in the life of a man who has struggled with legalism the whole year. It was a chance to sit and reflect on the change in the lives of students that I love and care for. They each told stories with their words, about how God had changed them, but moreover they told stories with their lives that testified to the very growth they spoke of. They were living stories who had decided to share a chapter with me, and after reading for a year, I cannot wait to read more.