The Power of Stories

Songs & Stories From Home Episode 7
Episode Audio

The Power of Stories

Originally I intended to demonstrate the power of story by talking about the relationship – the friendship – the kinship - the affection - that I’ve developed for and with Mike Kirkland, the person I replaced in The Brothers Four nearly 50 years ago. I will be sharing that story – the power of that story – soon enough - 

Today, unfortunately, it is the corrosive power of story that I am overwhelmed by and feel a need to talk about. Not long after the election of 2016 I made a promise to myself, to my art and craft, that I would not let the constant shameless lies and fear mongering that have infected the national narrative affect what I was doing – hoped to do - as a singer, songwriter, and storyteller. And yet I realize – before going any further - the constant clatter and clutter – the never ending noise – the divisiveness – the bitterness – the racism -  the making Americans with different points of view an enemy – the delight in winning at any cost - the need to wall off and arm up - all of it – the power of that story – has be addressed.

The power from such a story begins at the top – the person with the biggest megaphone or microphone – the bully at the bully pulpit if you will – someone who as a kid lied to his father about the number of home runs he hit in a baseball game – and has been playing games and lying ever since – expecting all within ear shot to consider him a big shot and – at least figuratively – to pat him on the head and tell him what a good boy he is. Someone who is so insecure that when his son is born his preeminence becomes so threatened he climbs into bed with a porn star. As a Presidential candidate he pays hush money to that woman – then as President, he lies about it – then explains the payment, made through an intermediary, as simply something that rich men get to do – this, of course, is after saying that powerful men get to simply grab women by the genitals. That was before saying he never did or would do that – which is after a number of women swore that is exactly what he would and did do.

But the lies and the behavior only hint at the power of the story. The real power comes when that kind of behavior is accepted or dismissed or not seen for what it is – un-Presidential for sure -  abhorrent, you bet– and deplorable.

Sadly one group that appears to encourage the divisiveness and not be discouraged by the lack of a moral compass or moral core in our current leadership - is a group of so called Christians. For me – someone who was raised in the church and ultimately left the church - it would be more accurate to call them religious nationalists – because the story of Jesus – whatever and however we believe - represents the greatest love story ever lived – a combination of someone loving so much they will die for that love – and because they will die for it, it becomes a love that lives forever – for me there is no story more powerful than that – and yet those who claim the story as their own while overlooking the actions of our current leaders – simply turn that love story into a commodity – trading the love in that story for a place at the table - dividing people into us - and them – intent on tearing down the walls between church and state contrary to every intent of the founders of this great and would be good nation - believing they know better and more – and that they can and should stand in judgment – telling us how to act and what we should believe -

I stop for a moment and look at some words – paraphrased from that most powerful love story – in this case from the Gospel of Matthew – Chapter 22 – it is there that we - who are told we are made in God’s image – are asked to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind – and not judge others – but love them – as we would have them love us. 

Stories have the power to tell us who we are – and – over time –like it or not – we become the stories we tell – 

We as individuals – as a nation – as a world – have a chance with our stories to tell our children and our grandchildren who we truly are – I would hope the stories we tell them – would include the fact that we are all in this together – that we are doing what we can to leave the world a better place for them – a more loving and inclusive place – I say that not simply because I believe it’s right – and also – years from now – that is the story I hope my grandchildren are able to tell about me – about all of us  – the country we live in and the world we share.

A most powerful story indeed.

 

INTRO to YOU TOLD ME YOUR STORY

Over the years I’ve been fascinated and often uplifted by the stories of people suspicious of one another coming together to work or play for a few hours or a few days – to get to know each other as people – not simply as Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland or Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East. I believe it is only by seeing each other as people that it becomes possible to recognize the many things that unite us.
The Brothers Four were singing in Southern Idaho not long ago. Someone my age had written an article for the local paper about how his father had given him a hunting rifle – and how he cared for it before passing it on to his son – and now his son was giving it to his son. It was a well written story about families and things families value – because my dad had bought me my first shotgun I was all in to what he was saying– until the last paragraph – where the writer proclaimed – so – you are not going to take my guns away – whoever you are - my feeling of connection was trumped by sadness that even this family’s amazing story could somehow be propagandized and used as a way to divide us. 

This song – Tell Me Your Story – is about two people who are united only by what divides them until they sit down and share their stories – when I started writing this song I wanted them to become friends – In the end all that changed was that they no longer called each other other. A small change - but a significant one - showing once again - the power of sharing and listening to each other’s stories.   

 

You Told Me Your Story (And I Told You Mine)

Who can forget that when we met both of us surely thought
That we were bound to fight that night yet in the end we talked
We found out at that time and place pieces that had been missin’
Cause we not only had our say we both took time and listened
Chorus
When you told me your story and I told you mine
We shared a few hours and a bottle of wine
Was something so human and all so divine
When you told me your story and I told you mine

As we heard each other’s stories filled with hopes and fears and dreams
What was clear were not the differences but the similarities
Those things that make you laugh and cry can do the same for me
Once we could see that simple fact we simply could not un-see
Chorus
When you told me your story and I told you mine
We shared a few hours and a bottle of wine
Was something so human and all so divine
When you told me your story and I told you mine

I haven’t seen you since that night we went separate ways
Yet we know something’s different something’s forever changed
Though we did not become friends or call each other “brother”
Since that night we also found can’t call each other “other”
Chorus
Cause you told me your story and I told you mine
We shared a few hours and a bottle of wine
Was something so human and all so divine
When you told me your story and I told you mine

©Copyright 2018
Love Gives More Music

 

Songs & Stories From Home | Mark Pearson Music

One of Those Times in a Life | Mark Pearson Music

Join me and help support the Journey.

Join me on Patreon and help support the Journey

Join me on Patreon and help support the Journey.

Join Now