Maybe it's just a by-product of age, but I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about the stories behind the stories. Like this saying - apparently there's some regret about growing older...?
I picture a multi-generational family gathering, maybe an outdoor picnic, with lots of color in motion and good food on a long picnic table...old and young together... Perhaps the regret is in the loss of youthful vigor and energy, perhaps it's in some kind of fading visual acuity. Maybe the regret is because of diet restrictions...But that doesn't seem to completely use up that word regret - What if the regret of growing older is looking back at missed opportunity in a life lived. What if it's reflecting on choices - good or bad - and the consequences of those choices. See... I don't know because I'm missing the story.
Years ago, right after I graduated from high school, I had the opportunity to spend a year in Brazil as an exchange student. I was seventeen. Fitting into another family in a different culture was difficult. I felt isolated - language was more of a barrier than I had anticipated. Personality doesn't translate very well without words. So I wrote. A lot. For the first four months. Looking back, it's almost amusing to read. Drama. Drama. Drama. Almost amusing. But not quite, because I remember how absolutely lost I felt...
I kept a journal. I wrote poems. I wrote lists. I wrote letters. I wrote these little one-sentence statements from who-knows-what part of my seventeen-year-old brain. Like I was full of wisdom...
- Love your enemies - they will no longer exist.
- If everyone made love instead of war, they would be too busy taking care of babies to fight.
- Love is understanding. Understand love and you'll love to understand everything.
- Self-confidence is selfishness made right.
- Isn't it funny how people always talk about what they did, and don't realize that what they're doing is what is important?
Oh, there are more - they're just too familiar to all of those other one-liners that are so prevalent on Pinterest, and Facebook... So there I was, feeling isolated and alone, spouting out the wisdom of the ages... statements that have been said in some way or another for thousands of years. Without the stories behind them to give them substance. To make them believable. To make them creditable.
Like Proverbs. I'm having a difficult time reading through Proverbs this week. Even though I realize that King Solomon definitely had a whole lot more life experience than a 17-year old girl from the 20th century, I'm missing the stories. Proverb after proverb. Some seem repetitive; I guess he felt the need to get the message across. Some seem like they don't even go together, written like analogies that don't match. Some are just plain obvious. So obvious, it makes me even more curious to know the story -
So, for now, I read Proverbs. For later, I study. I search for the stories. By the sheer density of the material, I might be busy for awhile... Hmm...there's certainly no time for regretting growing older - I'm looking forward to satisfying this story-curiosity of mine - I guess I've kind of come full circle in age - It's storytime.