As many of "those who've been away" return to Sanibel, back to those of us who live here year round, I hear story after story of the four to five months of people's lives where geographical distances have separated them from one another.
Tales of simple getaways and exotic vacations, stories of family reunions, remembrances of extended time with grandchildren or a bittersweet story of packing up a child for his/her first year off to college. There are sagas of doctors' appointments (referred to by some as organ recitals), updates on homes up north - sold and unsold - stories of emotional ups and downs, and of spiritual journeys taking on some reenergized and flourishing new directions!
As we share stories and listen to one another's renewed insights on life and love, it reminds me of the importance of stories told aloud and how for thousands of years those were the only tales humanity heard. Before we ever took pen to paper, the sagas of life, the heartbeats of our hearts and souls, and the meanderings of our minds were honored and passed down orally, and became sacred parts of our individual and corporate histories.
Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan
Lynda Sexson wrote in Ordinarily Sacred:
"Long before writing was invented, human beings read their world. They interpreted their dreams and the flights of birds. They read the intestines of sacrificial animals and the memories of their ancestors. They read the things that surprised them, or the things that reminded them of something else. Most of all, they read in the places where there were holds (spaces) gaps. They filled up the blanks of the universe, as though they were pages, with writing ... they even discovered pictures to be found in the cracks in their walls."
Spaces in time, cracks in our walls, gaps in our physical, emotional and spiritual journeys. All of these can still be the beautiful holding places in our lives. Your busy hectic life story may seem to be silent and uneventful. Nothing much occurring at all. Oh, but it is!
Those quiet spaces are replete with the powerful energy of a God who waits for us to slow down and pause and reintegrate our narratives back with the divine essence. When we understand this, the simplest story or the most fantastic tale you tell - the on-the-surface quiet vacation or the over-the-top trip - the sad or joyful saga you share, the most rudimentary story you tell, they all become sacred. They all possess an element of the holy.
So, continue to share your stories as you meld back together on the island for another season, and remember how we're all woven together in God's time (kairos) not our chronological time. And that in the stories and in the spaces between the stories we can discover precious moments. Even the cracks in the walls become beautiful.