Aug 01 2014
We often consume stories today as though they’re entertainment – here to satisfy the hunger of our boredom. What we too often forget is that stories are almost always tied to real, breathing human beings.
We hear the story of someone who was a bombardier in a B-17 during World War II and our interest is piqued. That’s something very much out of the ordinary.
Last week, I was talking with a family friend in Columbus, Ohio. The great man was a cardiologist who treated many World War II vets. One of his friends was a man named Joe.
About five years ago, the doctor went over to Normandy, France and saw the beaches that the allied troops landed on during D-Day. At 70 years old, having not participated in the war, he was blown away. When he returned to the US, he recounted his visit to Joe and said, “Normandy is remarkable, Joe! Have you ever been there?”
The doctor told me that Joe paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts and then said this….
“On June 6, 1944, I was a bombardier in a B-17. We weren’t allowed to fly our plane higher than 400 feet so we wouldn’t be detected by radar. We flew right over the beaches and could see very clearly those sons-of-bitches (the Germans) blowing our boys up. We dropped our bombs behind the German lines. We did three missions that day. I never want to see that place again.”
It was a reminder to me that things out-of-the-ordinary are often deeply painful to real people.
I fear today that stories are, at times, being prostituted for monetary and personal gain, consumed and quickly discarded without much care paid to those who endured such difficult stories.
We need look no further than our own veterans who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We listen raptly to their stories of heroism and then let many of these heroes melt down because of what those stories did to them.
As our world continues to move faster and faster, I hope we all discover how to slow down and see the people behind the tales.
Love doesn’t consume, it respects. Love isn’t fast. Love isn’t entertainment. If you tell stories, don’t tell stories to build your platform. Remind yourself they exist to build a better understanding of the human spirit and our relationships to each other, to this world, and to God. Peter hinted that the prophets should serve as our example. The bible writers didn’t recount events because it made them famous or popular.
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you…
_1 Peter 1:12
May God give us pure hearts!