I love Saturdays.
I awoke without alarm, the white dawn of day already peeking through the blinds. There was nowhere to be, nothing to do at any certain time.
And so I settled onto the couch to watch a movie I’ve seen many times, just for the sake of its story. A story of love and friendship, of life’s purpose, of following one’s passion.
It doesn’t matter what movie because the storyline running beneath them all – as well as the books and the conversations that keep us alive – is utterly the same.
We depend so on stories to tell us how to live. Think of the various versions of Bible and Scripture that most people cling to, depending on the stories therein as ultimate wisdom steering them forward.
Today, we picked apart Parshat Toldot (thanks to Ruth Bergman), the story of Isaac and his offspring, his farming and his interactions with the Philistines. We looked at literary nuance and placement to try to understand the significance, and people kept pulling it back to today: the politics of the Middle East, the idea of karma (what goes around comes around), universal truths that transcend time and tide.
We filled the seats in the glass room to look at the words and wonder what they mean to us now. After, my love and I braved the slick streets for breakfast alone as we used to do before life got so busy, and then shopping for the meals that lay between today and our Thanksgiving journey.
It was simple and quick, quiet and peaceful. Stories swirled all around us, for the grasping by our slippery fingertips, when we chose, and flitting about when we choose to ignore.
Stories are everywhere; they live beside us and in us, compete with our attentions for strength.
I watch or read stories to take me out of my own, and all the while we are reminded that one story is not any better than another, more truthful or less so.
What if we were to let go of our stories altogether? What if the details that we think define us fell by the wayside?
Who would we be then? And why here? Why now?
Perhaps this is too weighty for a weekend midday. Or perhaps it is the very lifeblood of this moment and before we pass into the next we must accept the very fleeting nature of things and embrace the ever-changing definition of our lives.
“Sing the song of the moment in careless carols, in the transient light of the day;…With both hands snap the fetters you made with your own heart chords;” ~ Rabindranath Tagore