Tonight, I’m going to make room for stories.

I love telling stories.   Love, love, love it.

I love listening to a well-told story, but am bad at listening to the rambles.

This didn’t used to be the case.  I had a lovely Grandpa and he was a CHAMPION story teller . . . when I very young.  By the time I was old enough to begin to remember his stories, he was beginning to forget them.  It wasn’t too long later that to listen to him talk was to hear a jumble of people and situations and stories that were clear and distinct in his head, but not in the telling.  Not too long after that, reality began slipping away.  And then, finally, Grandpa had no more stories, only questions.  He didn’t even remember my father clearly, much less me.  Then, his voice–that beautifully soft, story-telling voice–went silent.

Yet, through all the confusions and conundrums and quiet corrections from my father after Grandpa was finished and elsewhere, I listened to those stories.  I was one of the few grandchildren who had the patience for it, and that patience came from a deeply ingrained love of story, passed down from my grandfather to my father to me.  Since then, however, I have–without really intending to–stopped listening to anyone’s rambling stories.  I think it reminds me of those last days with Grandpa–the days he was trapped in his mind and his body was living in a home for the elderly.  I hated those days.  I hated seeing my Grandpa crying into his ice cream because he did not know who the people were who had brought the homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries, so he couldn’t thank them properly.  I hated to see the stories leave.

But today, I’m going to a home for the elderly.  We’ve been asked to sing–which I’ve done in the past–and to listen.  I can’t remember the last time I volunteered to do that.  But when the opportunity to talk with these seniors arose, for some reason it didn’t seem as scary as it used to.  It seemed good and wonderful.  It seemed time for stories.