Letting Our Story Unfold to the End…

Dear Reader:

Have you ever experienced an almost split-second car accident, or stumble off a high ridge or deep ravine-and in that amazingly ” elongated ” moment of time-wonder… is this it? And if so… how does this ending leave our personal story- just hanging or did we get enough “plot” in to make our life somehow justifiable with exchanges of kindness and benevolence or were we still waiting for a happy ending to come when the ending came anyway?

Let me share an old Hindu tale that Mark Nepo used to demonstrate how important it is to let our story unfold …until the very end.

” In it, there is a boy who wants a drum, but his mother can’t afford a drum , so sadly she gives him a stick. Though he doesn’t know what to do with it, he shuffles home and begins to play with the stick. Just then, he encounters an old woman trying to light her wood-stove. The boy freely gives her the stick. She lights her fire, makes some bread and gives the boy half a loaf. Walking on, the boy comes upon a potter’s wife whose child is crying from hunger. The boy freely gives her the bread. In gratitude, she gives him a pot. Though he doesn’t know what to do with it, he carries it along the river, where he sees a washerman and his wife quarreling because the wife broke their one pot. The boy gives them the pot. In return they give him a coat. Since the boy isn’t cold, he carries the coat until he comes to a bridge, where a man is shivering. Riding to town on a horse, the man was attacked and robbed of everything …but his horse. The boy freely gives him the coat. Humbled, the man gives him his horse. Not learning how to ride, the boy walks the horse into town, where he meets a wedding party with musicians . The bridegroom and his family are all sitting under a tree with long faces. According to custom, the bridegroom is to enter the procession on a horse, which hasn’t shown up. The boy freely gives him the horse. Relieved, the bridegroom asks what he can do for the boy. Seeing the drummer surrounded by all his drums, the boy asks for the smallest drum, which the musician gladly gives him.”

” The Boy and the Drum” ( Facing the Lion, Being the Lion) Mark Nepo

Think about this… if the story had ended at any point prior to when it did -we would not have seen the true nature of generosity. After all -the key word in the story that kept popping up was …” freely” -the boy gave everything away ” freely” -not hesitantly or begrudgingly… but ” freely.”

If the story ended after the mother gave her little son a stick instead of the drum he wanted -the message behind the story would be one of gratitude and appreciatively accepting what we are given.

If the story ended when the boy gave his stick to the old woman (to start her wood-stove) we experience a moment of true altruism.

If we end the story when the woman gives the boy half a loaf of bread-we have an economic lesson in barter and trade principles.

But by letting the story completely unfold… we finally see how everything fits together … the circle of giving comes full circle. By allowing the fabric of the Universe to fully reveal itself… we are given a second unexpected gift-and that is …the gift might not be for us. It might be but one exchange along the way… ” and one exchange from realizing how we are all connected.”

So until tomorrow…” Faith is the bird that feels the light… and sings when the dawn is still dark.”

Mandy and John were busy leprechauns yesterday rising before the kids and turning the ” john” waters to the color green … dropping off toy gold coins leading to sprinkled green donuts and donuts filled with green jelly and having Jake ‘s ” leprechaun ” trap” or ” snare” ready to take to school to try and catch those little green men! And color while you eat place mats! Mandy said it was the best breakfast in awhile-everyone happy!

Mandy’s children’s wall hangings that she creates and makes.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Letting Our Story Unfold to the End…

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

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