Evolving Stories

Beware of rumors, opinions and stories…… I would like to share with you an incident that happened to me recently. I was visiting my local coffee shop, when Bob, the storeowner, was being told a local newsflash that had just happened. What was mentioned to Bob was that a body had been found in the garden of a neighbor near the highway. Jane told Bob that behind the bushes was a dead man who appeared to have been killed overnight. In the course of the next hour, three or four other people came in and told Bob the same story. This is where it all starts to get interesting.

As the hours began to click on by, the story started to change….what was once a dead body, found in a garden, had now turned into a dead man with no arms or legs. By late afternoon, the dead body had become a woman with just a head!! Obviously, as the story made its rounds throughout the neighborhood and passed from person to person, it took on a life of its own…..this often happens to many aspects of our own lives.

How many of us out there have heard something that after a while takes a one hundred and eighty degree turn and becomes something totally different? Storytelling itself is an art…..and like all good stories over time it’s very easy for some to include their own two cents, or their own interpretation. It’s not so hard to imagine why in court cases two witnesses can observe the same crime and come away with drastically different opinions. Within each occurrence is the event…..and the interpretation.

So can the past be fully trusted? Information passing over time through human beings, can get distorted. The history books seem to get revised every decade, for that very reason. When we pull back from events, and let the dust settle, we are sometimes confused and alarmed at how different things may look. History means his/story, or her/story…..an evolving story that has the potential to take on a life of its own. Could it be that there are chapters of our history that are laced with opinion, with absence of fact? If a story in one tiny neighborhood can change so drastically in a matter of hours, what can be said of an entire world over the span of a century? When we read on the front page of our papers the latest happenings, one has to question how much we are not being told. We assume that what we are being told in the present is the truth, but how can we assume that, if we know in the past some details of events have been proven to be false?

So, is it so wrong to question each story we hear…..until we know the facts? Perhaps not……when life itself is a never-ending story?

read between the lines,
love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2002 Jennifer Avalon

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