Once upon a time

“Once upon a time …” The telling of stories is as old as childhood, and as perennial. But why? What purpose does it serve to play out fantasies and memories, wish-fulfillment and nightmares, tragedy and romance, comedy and satire in theatrical and literary form? Why do we do it? Why do people of faith persist in it, even ritualizing it, arranging for it on a regular basis?

Because it lets us know, each of us, that whatever we can imagine, wish, wish away, fear or survive, it has been the experience of at least one other story-teller, in reality or in a dream – and the world kept turning.

Whatever dilemmas or denouements, tragedies or triumphs, bewilderments or breakthroughs we encounter, we are not alone. We are not cast out of human company. We are embraced by the stories of those whose imaginations, experience, whose words have gone before, once upon a time.

Even God has been there, once upon a time, once within a womb, once upon a desert land, with friends and bread and wine; once upon a cross, once within a tomb, once more upon a mountaintop…

To tell our stories is an act of love, of tenderness to those who need to hear that they are not alone.

Once upon a time…

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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