Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Good Spreads Out, Where No Telling It Will Go

"Granma said when you come on something good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; that way, the good spreads out where no telling it will go. Which is right."   – Forrest Carter, The Education of Little Tree
      The Preacher and I discovered the National Storytelling Festival in June of 1995. The Preacher was working as a youth minister in a church in Florida, when we took the youth group to a CIY conference at Milligan in Milligan College, Tennessee. One day, while the kids had a break, we took them to downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee, the oldest town in Tennessee. While walking around the town the Preacher and I happened upon an old hotel that had all kinds of posters that were advertising the Festival. We walked in and immediately we were hooked. We had walked into the Storyteller's Headquarters. We began to ask all kinds of questions, especially the when and where questions. We found out that the Festival was to take place that October and right away we began making plans.

     We went to our first Storytelling Festival when our son was just 6 months old. We could not get enough. There were men and women from all over the world telling stories after stories that made you laugh and cry. We knew right then and there that two things were going to happen. One, we were going to attend every year and, two, we had to share this with as many people as we could.

    Throughout the last 21 years we have gone back to get filled up with the thing that only the Storyteller's Festival can give – a renewed love of the art of storytelling. Throughout those 21 years we have been spreading the good out to our family and friends. 

     This year we went back and the first teller was up on the stage. He was about to tell. He was someone we were familiar with and we couldn't wait to hear what stories he had to tell this year. After he was done I told the Preacher that I was a little disappointed because the teller's story just seemed to fall flat. A little while later, after hearing a few more tellers, I figured out what was wrong. It wasn't the teller who was flat, it was me. 

     A sadness had taken me over. It hit me that the people that we loved and cared about was not there to enjoy the Festival with us this year. We had spread the good out to our families; to our mother's, to the Preacher's sisters, to his nieces and to our families from our church and especially to our son. They were not there to enjoy this special time. I told the Preacher of what I was feeling and he realized this too. We began to count how many people we had shared this with and how many of them have now gone on to be with our Lord. And those that are still among us, are not able to attend. For the first full day of the Festival I couldn't get the sadness out of my mind.

     For the rest of the weekend, when we had a chance, we would tell stories of our loved ones that had come to partake in the storytelling. We laughed and we cried but we kept them alive with our stories.

     Don't forget to tell your stories. You don't have to be a professional storyteller to tell. All you have to do is say to one other person..."Remember when...." and you've got a story to tell. Spread the good and let it spread out to no telling where it will go.

Love from the Preacher and I