Stories are powerful. Often they are what remain in my memory from great speakers, sermons, and sitting around with friends. Memorable stories have a way of wriggling their way into our lives, and with each retelling they become part of us, in an almost imperceptible way.
One such story for me comes from Esther de Waal, and it has been a metaphor that seems to have made that imperceptible journey into my life, forming who I am becoming. I first came across the story many years ago while reading de Waal’s book, The Celtic Way of Prayer. The author defines a Celtic understanding of the Latin word peregrinatio with the following story:
In the ninth century three Irishmen set out on peregrinatio. They went from the shores of Ireland in coracles (sail boats with no keel), without oars, to drift on the sea for seven days. They landed ashore in Cornwall, England, and were brought to the court of King Alfred. When the king asked them where they had come from and where they were going, they answered that they “stole away because we wanted for the love of God to be on pilgrimage, we cared not where.”
– Esther de Waal, The Celtic Way of Prayer (New York: Doubleday, 1997), p. 2.
That story of being on pilgrimage for the love of God and caring not where has woven itself into my life. I haven’t been able to shake it, and it has become the desire of my life. It has led me to places geographically, spiritually, and emotionally that have made me more human, humane, and alive.
Do you find that stories are powerful? Have you unexpectedly stumbled on a story or stories that have worked their way into your life? Would love for you to share a story in the comments.
[Photo credit: yewenyi]