“That’s what storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again.” Walt Disney I went to a writing conference a few months ago. I had been really looking forward to it. After writing a couple of hundred thinly read blogs and enjoying some speaking opportunities, a few folks intimated that somewhere inside me there was a leadership-purpose-masculine-identity-headship-etc. type book emerging.
That marked the beginning of an incredibly assaulted time that I still haven't recovered from in some ways. (If you start to get clarity of some of what God created you to do, get ready for the warfare.) I attended that writing conference with a friend of mine who works on our business's branding and radio messaging. My buddy is a successful published Christian author who shares a similar missional heart to men. At the conference, we were required to do some creative writing to help with our ad writing.
At one point, almost as an aside, one of the leaders of the event said to me, "You're not a really a writer. You are more of a storyteller.". I first received it as an indictment of my ability to write in any capacity. I commented to my author friend on what the leader had said. My friend not only affirmed the comment, but said it was an incredible gift to be able to tell stories well. He said that there are authors all over the place, but to be able to tell a story that encourages, inspires, or challenges another it is a real and rare gift.
My mind instantly went to several other experiences, the most prominent being a celebratory dinner with the Chairman of the bank where I worked for 16 years. He and his wife took me and my wife to dinner. As we were talking and I mentioned our six children. He turned to me with this wide-eyed childlike enthusiasm and gesturing to his wife said, "Tell her one of your stories. He tells great stories.". I feel like God used that conversation and many subsequent ones to affirm some of my unique calling and gifting, and to solidify something that our enemy would love to steal, kill, and destroy.
Watching Walt Disney woo the heart of P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks", I was also reminded of the power of storytelling. The movie is an extraordinary tale of the power of wounding, rescue, and redemption. It is the temporal echoing the eternal. Walt essentially rewrites the ending of a woman's tragic story and brings healing to her 50 year broken heart. "Behold, I make all things new."
My favorite movie list every year is the one from Christianity Today. Early last year they released their "Most Redeeming Films of 2012". They'll do the same in a month or so for 2013. I can guarantee you "Saving Mr. Banks" will be on it. They don't list movies the typical way all the "best of" lists do. They offer the 10 (or so) films that most beautifully portray the ransom, rescue, and redemption story we all enjoy as Christians.
Grab your wife (not really one for the kids) and go be uplifted, inspired, and feel the full weight of Jesus' Isaiah 61 ransom and rescue. Allow yourself to be reminded, through the power of good storytelling, there is ultimately only one great story worth telling.