What Kind of Stories Will We Tell?

robbie

Tony’s Grandmother passed away this last week and we have her funeral this week. Anytime a loved one passes away, we can’t help but face our own lives and mortality.

Eighty-eight years.  It seems like a long time but I would bet it didn’t seem very long to Robbie. I would bet it flew by just like my forty-four years has. Years have a way of doing that. Before you know it, a decade has gone by and you’re not quite sure where it went. I’m halfway to eighty-eight already.

Robbie was a storyteller. She told stories of the Great Depression, of Gypsies, of good times and of bad. She told the stories of the people she loved; her husband, her children, her parents; and her country and it’s struggles.

My Grandmother was a storyteller, too. Being quite a bit older than Robbie, she told far different stories of the Depression and stories of wartime. She told stories of Indians and Vaqueros instead of gypsies. She told stories of rationing and an inability to fulfill basic needs.

Both told stories of a world that, really, no longer exists.  Our modern world has far different stories to tell. Our “depressions” are still times of abundance. No children starve to death, at least in the US. In wartime, our food and supplies are never rationed and are still abundant. To most people, war is just a vague 30 seconds on the news.  Our lives are far more insulated from the hardships of life than those of our Grandparents.

What will our stories to our grandchildren be? I’m afraid they will be far less colorful than our grandmothers told us.

The world we’ve grown up in has been a world of abundance. We live in a world where life is far too easy. We’ve grown fat and complacent with our own overfilled lives. Where are our stories going to come from? Our shopping trip to the mall and the perfect shoes we found to go with that dress?

It’s not enough. Although I’m very happy that our children don’t go hungry, I wonder what they are learning about life? What lessons are they going to learn from growing up in a world where they lack nothing? And can we really count on that abundance to continue? Our children would be woefully unprepared for a world of true depression or war.

My grandmother stockpiled food. When she passed away, there were canned goods tucked away in every nook and cranny of her home. She lived in fear of those lean times returning because they can, and she knew that.

Stories worth telling are born from hardship. They are born from struggle and overcoming thin odds. In a world of abundance, our stories shift to ones of little significance. Did you hear what Kim Kardashian said? Did you see Dancing with the Stars last night? Even our conversations are shallow and meaningless.

My generation at least grew up hearing these stories of hardship. Our children won’t even have that. At least I hope they don’t. But, where will their stories come from? What will their children know of struggle? Lean times are bound to return.  Will there still be anyone around who remembers the stories of difficult times and how to overcome them?

I will miss you and your stories, Grandmother.

1 Comment

  1. A wonderful post! I enjoyed it and the harsh truth that it forces the reader to acknowledge.

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