“Is it true?” Kids often ask me that question their eyes wide and full of wonder as I finish telling them an Inuit legend, a First Nations origin story or a Greek myth related to a piece of art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.“It’s true if you believe it’s true,” I answer them.
I recently finished reading The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. The main character Hetty, a slave in the American south, is influenced by a story her mother tells her about how in Africa their people could fly like blackbirds. That magic was lost only when they were forcibly removed to North America. Even though Hetty says she knows the story isn’t true, the idea and hope of being as free as a bird someday never leaves her and motivates her throughout her life.
When I read the stories in the Bible I often feel like the children at the art gallery and want to ask, “Can it be true?” Men swallowed by whales, old women becoming pregnant, water turning into wine, all the animals in the world rescued in an ark. Sounds impossible. Yet I’d be the first to say, “It’s true if you believe it’s true.”
I also think however the stories have a message for those who don’t believe they are true in a literal sense- in the case of the stories I’ve mentioned above- running away from responsiblity often has bad consequences, never give up hope for your heart’s desire, have faith in your children, care for all living things.
Stories spark our imaginations, teach us, and inspire us to rise above the challenges in our lives to do good, important and meaningful things. That’s what makes them true.
Other posts ……..