My dad always used to tell me these fantastically funny stories about life when he was a kid. Some were confusing to a young man in that awkward stage between child and young adult. Stories about how much harder he had it as a kid would make me smile. He would tell me about walking great distances to go to school or how he would brave the winter snow in subfreezing temps while lightly clothed so he wouldn’t get his clothes wet. He even shared with me that, often, his walks required him to go uphill both ways!
Now, I would never question my father’s integrity, but I think he occasionally stretched the truth in order to get his point across. Not to say he would exaggerate, but I recall some tales of fishing trips that seemed slightly embellished. I even remember him sharing many times that my first successful hunt had him completely confused! He couldn’t understand why the deer had chosen to run into my arrow.
My dad’s stories impacted me greatly as I was growing up and they have helped to make me into the man I am now. Through his picking, my dad would exhibit his pride in what I had accomplished. My grandfather was very similar. I come from a long line of storytellers who excelled in the art of “picking.”
Some of my favorite memories of times spent with them include a wry little grin as some great tale, slightly embellished, was retold for the tenth or the hundredth time. Those stories never grow old, though, with time, they have grown. Fish get larger, the size of the deer missed and ease of the shot are exaggerated while the tales of our successes become more comical each time told.
I don’t know if my dad or my grandfather understood the profound impact their storytelling had on my life, but it changed me in ways I only recently have come to realize. It set me on a course I never anticipated but am so thankful to be on. Those stories have changed my life and given me a hope that I too will be able change the lives of those around me through the stories we share!
I don’t want to be remembered as a storyteller, I want my story to inspire people to change the lives of those around them. As I look at the lives of my father and grandfather, that’s what I see, two men who loved to tell a story, but did so to change the lives of those listening. They shared their experiences, slightly embellished, all the while hoping to inspire you to go further than you thought possible. My grandfather wasn’t and my father isn’t just about the story. Both did all they could to change the lives of those around them by giving of themselves every day. That behavior changed me, it inspired me to write a story with my life that would be worth sharing.
Each of us has a story to tell. You are writing it now, even as you read. Does your story inspire hope in others? Are you a storyteller or a life-changer? You have it in you to make an incredible impact on this world! Your story can change people’s lives and inspire them to become more than they ever imagined, but you have to write it. Many great stories go unwritten because our fears keep us from living out the tale.
Regardless of your age, there are still pages left to be written! Fill them with stories that make a difference in the world around you. Take some risks, embellish from time to time, but use the time you’ve been given effect positive change in this world. Don’t let fear leave blank pages in your life’s tale. Let your story inspire others. Be assured, you will have trials in this life, those obstacles make your story unique. It’s how we live in the midst of those moments that make us life-changers.