My grandson, Zakery, has an uncanny ability to draw you into a conversation and build a visual world inside you that is much different than the one you’re actually in.
One day, while he was still in preschool, he went with my husband and me to the barber shop. It was a small block building that set just off the highway. A cluster of trees was behind it.
He said, “There’s a bear in them thar woods.”
“Yes. And it’s gonna come out to scare us.” He thrust his chest out and bared his paws. “And then it’s gonna run around the building.” He jumped behind the seat and ducked. Shortly, he stretched up to peek out the window.
“What are we going to do?” I asked.
“Not let it get us,” he said.
He didn’t think any more about his pretend bear, but as we climbed out of the car to go inside, I checked over my shoulder both directions to make sure nothing followed us.
During the last Thanksgiving holiday, Zakery, then fifteen, was our comedian for the evening. His bear story had morphed into a much bigger tale, involving camping and truck beds, and little arms. He exaggerated the story with hand motions and shirt changes. When he spoke loud, his arms spread wide. Then, as his voice changed to a small squeak, his arms seemed to shrink before our eyes. The anxieties of life slipped away as we shook our heads and laughed.
I was walking in the field one day when Zakery fell in step with me and put his arm around my shoulders.
“Hey, Mema. You know how you paid Blake when he worked for you last week?”
“Yes. If you need a little money, I have some work you can do.”
“I don’t want to work. I just thought you might pay me anyway.”
I didn’t. But, a few weeks later, his mischievous eyes twinkled as he told a long spiel how life was unbearably tough that week. I pulled some money out of my purse and handed it to him.
His eyes grew huge. “You believed that?”
“No. But, you told a good story.”
He passionately recreates the fables in his mind. He is so good, people have called to check on his welfare and even thrown him a moving-out-of-town party – when he wasn’t going anywhere. He is always shocked at his audience’s response. It amazes him that people believe what he has to say. His mind is sharp, fast, and calculating. But it is always inclusive. He loves people and is genuinely concerned about the other person’s welfare. I’m not sure what profession he will choose as an adult, but his co-workers are in for a good time.
Positive communication benefits everyone. Stories of victories we’ve had are perfect opportunities to encourage others that are striving to meet their goals. Trials that we’ve experienced give us insight that can help someone through a similarly difficult time.
God wants all of us to share our story. If you’re wondering what your narrative is, start by asking the Almighty to show you a way to tell about his goodness. It will set your mind on things that matter.
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.” Philippians 2: 1-2