Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Story Seekers

While I was in Austin last week, I had the privilege of seeing my daughter, Kat’s, new play, The Story Seekers. She wrote the play specifically to fit the grounds of the Elizabet Ney Museum in Hyde Park. What a fabulous scene! The museum itself looks like a castle, and it is set on fantastical grounds with foot bridges, creeks, tree swings, and winding paths—PERFECT for the fantasy she wrote.

The story involves a princess, a Story Teller, and lost children. The princess, Bet, is about to be killed by a mean General who has taken over the kingdom and dictated that NO stories will ever be told again. The kingdom must live only in the present and future—no history allowed! The Story Teller saves her by taking her to a magical place where there are only children. The trick, however, is that he takes their life stories and changes them as he pleases; and only HE can tell stories in this land. The longer they stay with him, the more they forget their stories, until they no longer even know who they were, where they came from, or what their names were.

Of course, two of the children (along with Bet) outsmart the Story Teller, take their stories back, send him running, and restore Bet to her kingdom (very short synopsis of the outcome).

I was so struck watching this fantastical play at the powerful metaphor of stories. I’ve said so many times how difficult it is for the teens at Promise House to maintain their history, to know and remember their stories; and how important we are in anchoring them to a GOOD and HOPEFUL story. I know this is why so many stay in touch with us. We ARE their story. We ARE their history. We ARE the beginning of their GOOD story.

So many of our kids have had their stories stolen, changed, convoluted, erased, forgotten, or damaged by years in the system, moving from place to place, being abused, being lied to, being forgotten. Thank god we can reconnect them, or connect them back to themselves. Hallelujah for stories and for the power to influence them in positive ways.

Aside from the fact that I think Kat is a genius and incredibly talented (where DID she get that??), I am so grateful to have been able to see this fun, magical, and powerful play. It re-confirmed for me how important our work at Promise House is and how fortunate we are to be in the presence of such great young people, my daughter included.

What is YOUR story? How do you keep it alive?