by Jean Matthew Hall
Jean Matthew Hall writes encouraging stories for children and the adults who love them. She also seeks to encourage other writers by directing the Write2Ignite! Conferences.
About thirty minutes from my home is NarroWay Productions, home of “world-class, Christian entertainment.” And it really is. It’s professional and personable. It’s clean and Christ-honoring. It’s scrumptiously entertaining. If you live or visit near Charlotte, NC, you should seize the opportunity to see one of their productions.
I love live theatre. It’s so… ALIVE! I especially enjoyed sharing this experience with my 89 year old mother. We went with friends to enjoy the NarroWay production of Not Just Another Love Story. It is set during World War II.
I have old photos of my dad in his WWII uniform. Photos of his boot camp (They lived in tents!) and of my mama in her high-heel shoes and too-short polka dot dresses. I even have some letters my granny wrote to my daddy while he was in Europe. WWII is an exciting second-hand memory for me.
But for my mama it was first-hand. It was real. Very real. As soon as the lights went down and the first song-and-dance began Mama started crying. And she kept on wiping her eyes through the entire two-hour production. I was enjoying old songs from my parent’s generation. She was re-living her memories as the songs and story came to life for her on the stage.
She told me later that evening that she was really glad she went with me. “It let me re-live some of those memories and get them out in the open,” she said. “That wasn’t just a story to me. It was my life. Right there on that stage they were telling the story of my life.”
Such is the power of art.
Theatre or books, music or painting or sculpture, poetry or prose. The products of our imaginations potentially hold that kind of power for our readers. The power to put them right in the middle of the story. The power to take them back in time, to launch them into the future, or to thrust them into another world. The power to help them escape from their lives, or face them head-on and change them.
God has given us a huge opportunity with these words we toss around. And He holds us accountable for the ways we use them, dear writers.
It’s an awesome responsibility and an amazing privilege.
Let’s not waste a single word or opportunity.