This American Life

Not only do I really love reading people’s stories through their blogs, but I love listening to stories.  As children, if we were lucky enough, we got read to while sitting in our mother’s lap and lost ourselves in beautiful tales of imagination and fantasy.  As adults, we lose some of that.  We become the readers and our imaginations begin to lose their spark.  Where they once felt the freedom to travel on limitless journeys, now they tend to stick a little closer to home.

The way I get read to these days is through podcasts.  I’ve subscribed to several, given them a chance or two and then unsubscribed if they didn’t grab my attention.  I have two that have grabbed on and haven’t let go.

The first is the podcast from North Point Community Church.  Andy Stanley (son of Charles) is the pastor at this large church with 3 campuses in the Atlanta area.  Andy is a phenomenal storyteller.  Though I continue to try, I’m not getting a lot from reading the Bible “in my mind”…what I call reading to yourself, when you can hear your own voice telling the story in sort of an echo fashion inside your mind.  But, Andy tells the stories of the Bible in a way that paints a beautiful and very real picture for me.  Typically, he takes one story and sticks to it through an entire series of messages, going deeper each week and taking you to places you might not have seen in reading it on your own.  As I listen to these podcasts, I really just feel like I’m listening to a great story instead of being taught.  Though, he always does manage to sneak in valuable lessons on me.

Then, a few weeks ago my brother was visiting from NYC and played an episode of This American Life from his iPod on a short road trip we were taking.  They choose a different topic each week and the person(s) who actually experienced it tells their story.  Today, as I was driving Carter around to get him to fall asleep (yes, still doing that), I listened to part of the episode titled “The Middle of the Night”.  In the hour long podcast, I listened to vivid stories about teenagers who performed a middle of the night initiation ceremony, the experience of produce buyers/sellers in NYC, people who stayed up all night to get free Chick-fil-A coupons for a year at a grand opening, the experience of traveling in an Iraqi night convoy and a mother who stayed up in a hospital all night with her sick daughter.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the smallness and complexities of my own life that I forget about the lives going on all around me.  This podcast takes me to those places and keeps me from being so closed in on myself only.

Plus, I love a good story and I love to be read to.


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