The Question Tells Our Stories

“Open Book Policy” by Alex E. Proimos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

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The Question Tells Our Stories

By Jane Tawel

December 2, 2022

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The young are ensnared,

by the Questioners,

who with all good intentions intact,

nonetheless, trap them

and grade them,

and release them into the world

thinking that the questions are:

What?

Who?

When?

And many never learn that these questions

have no ultimate worth

and will never satisfy.

For that which we all long for is — 

a story worth telling

a story worth listening to,

a story worth living.

*

And all of us,

may be ground down

by those who lead

the inquisitions of

banal things,

like education, and politics, and religion.

We who educate the young

still believe we can teach them answers.

Have none of us learned yet,

that all that matters

are what questions we learn to ask,

and live with?

How few of us learn,

that all of life’s prompts,

are asking each of us,

all of us,

to answer only — 

“How?”

and “Why?”

And few of us learn or know

that when we ask

the real questions,

that even the questions are unclear,

But that living with the right questions

will lead us,

and we will lie down in green pastures,

near still waters,

in peace

with the questions.

*

Oh, yes, many of us still seek

what we think to be written

in black and white.

And we foolishly walk in halls

constructed by Whats and Whos

and made crooked with straight lines

and covered in moldy, dead pictures

of dead saints and deader patriots.

And we live lives afraid of our own stories.

And we must hate and fear something,

so, we hate and fear the stories of others.

And we keep chasing whats and whos.

As if they were real.

As if they could last.

*

Listen to the elders speak.

“Oh, Our People –

when human stories are no longer told,

and we no longer look at each other

awed by the mystery,

then the heroes have failed

and the protagonist has died,

and the antagonists of the Story,

and the enemies of meaning and longing,

have won.

But they too, silly fools,

will have no victory in death.

*

Oh, we must remain awake!

We must keep turning the pages;

pages written only for us

in this place, and this time.

We must keep searching for the themes,

one by one,

eyes open

past our bedtimes

times that would turn out our lights,

and leave the Story unfinished.

Oh, I am learning to live

in the mystery

that all Good Stories must have,

waiting to gasp at the surprise ending.

For we know not

of what we are made of now,

but one day, we shall be revealed to be,

not what we are,

not who we are,

not what we have been;

but Why we have been,

and Why we have lived,

and Why we will always be.

*

Oh, My People,

when we stop telling each other our stories,

and listening to each other’s stories — 

Well, that is when the Story of humanity

and of our beautiful earth,

will end –

*

Oh, My People,

Tell your stories.

Tell them to whomever will listen.

Tell your story

in your bedroom,

in your office,

in check-out lines

and empty pews,

and protest marches

and wherever you are

and with whomever you are with.

And when you tell your true story,

and listen to another’s true story,

Why, then –

whatever you do

that you think is important

will be revealed

to be a lovely, peaceful little nothing at all,

compared to the True Story of You.

*

Oh, My People,

Learn your story.

You are not a what

Or a who

Or a when — 

You have come through your story, thus far,

by learning to ask “How”.

And if you haven’t already,

You must now be brave enough

to ask yourself, “Why?”.

And then write

just the next moment of your story,

that is all your story needs,

the next word,

the next line,

the next action

that answers your “Why”.

And then you may write

one moment more,

and that too,

will be the answer.

And by asking the write questions,

You are asking the right questions.

And you are turning the page,

on another day to become closer

to the Story’s Awesome Ending! — 

and the answer to Why.

“Here am I, Oh Why. Send me.”

*

You are an arc, a radius, a point,

in the Awesome Circle

we sit in together,

telling the Story of Why.

Take part today in the Circle of Life.

*

And in the questions,

that your story,

and his story,

and her story,

and their story

ask with words whispered,

with proclamations shouted,

with songs sung;

the questions,

written large and small

with nubby pencils,

and leaking ink pens,

and sticks on cave walls,

and bindings both new and old — 

in the questions pulsing

like living hearts outside a body,

in the stories of yourself and others,

and all of humankind — 

you will find the Living Mystery,

that some call “God”,

and some call “Meaning”,

and some call “The Answer” — 

but all of humankind calls — 

“ The Why”.

*

Oh, My People,

There are only two stories to be told.

One is loss.

And the other is –

Love.

Loss is the story of How.

Loss will guide the protagonist’s steps,

if allowed to be the catalyst to change.

But the only story worth

keeping on the top shelf of your thinking,

and the locked vault of Memory’s library,

and passed from hand to hand

in the circles of our gatherings;

and kept safely, next to the bed

to be read again,

and with parts memorized

for telling when the nightmares come,

or our sleepy children snuggle close,

or an old worn out body breathes its last;

the only story to be cherished

and told and retold and told again,

the story that is no respecter of persons,

but available for free,

always for all of us;

the only story worth living for,

worth dying for,

worth trusting in;

the Story with the real Ending,

that will never, never come,

but that will go on into eternity,

Why, that Story –

the story that answers “Why”,

is the Story of Love.

Oh, My People,

the only story that when told and retold,

never grows stale or boring,

the only story that is worth sharing,

again,

and again,

and again

is the Story of Love.

*

And Love will always,

Always — 

Always — 

Be — 

Forever…

The Story that answers

the only question worth asking:

Why?

© Jane Tawel, 2022

*

*

I lived among the books and things,

and rode the merry-go-round.

And as I reached for the golden ring — 

Why — suddenly I found

that Life is not a carousel

that I did have to ride,

so, I slid off, so I could tell,

of what I’d found, before I died.

Oh, Children, do not hop aboard,

this world’s illusive wheel.

Instead, trust what you feel,

to be the Path your soul reveals.

For it’s within your very own,

dear self that you will find

a true and loving peaceful home,

for heart, and soul, and mind.

You must be brave.

You must be modest.

You’ll find The Path,

most strange and oddest.

But you will find around each bend,

our joy in journeying never ends.

*

© Jane Tawel, 2022

Published by

Jane Tawel

Still not old enough to know better. I root around and explore ideas in philosophy, spirituality, poetry, Judeo-Christian Worldview, family, relationships, and art. Often torn between encouragement & self-directed chastisement, I may sputter, but I still keep trying to move forward.

2 thoughts on “The Question Tells Our Stories”

  1. I love this! Story-telling is such a precious and priceless tradition…one that we must learn from, listen to, cherish and never let go. We blog to release our stories and to hear the stories of others…in loss, in love, in search of the connective flow. 🙏❤️

    Like

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