Museums….bring to mind several things. Stuffy dust covered relics, oil paintings by the world’s masters, books, and bones. Honestly museums don’t hold for me the allure that often grabs other people. I like old things, antiques…to a certain extent. I don’t adore them. I collect stories not history. How do they differ?
History and traditions. People hold onto things tightly in this world. It’s a result of the fast pace and the uncertainty of life. I find nothing wrong in it except for the staleness it evokes. Life shouldn’t be like the dusty room in the museum with ancient relics that have long since lost their usefulness. Life is to be lived, embraced, experienced, challenged, enjoyed, and celebrated. When holding onto something is more important that the concept or ideal it represents then we have surely wandered too far from the path.
Some people make museums of their memories. This is not a bad thing unless the hold that those memories have entombs them just as the ancient pharaohs were entombed. Memories that bind us prevent us from living in the here and now. Bad memories, seep into our bones and cause us to wither before our time. Good memories can evoke a melancholy trance that makes us wish for something that is no longer. As humans we can’t fully escape either however I am certain that God does not plan for us to become entangled in the mistakes or even the glory days of our lives.
God wants us to be part of the song of the universe. Each note of the song adds depth and beauty to this never ending cascade of God’s love. The song of the universe is always playing, there in the back ground. Sometimes it is full and strong and we find ourselves humming along but at other times the notes are so soft, carried as whispers in the air. It is always there though, for those that pause to listen. Each of us plays a part in the song, we are equally as important. And losing a few notes of the song is not an option.
But wait, I have wandered away from museums. I do have that tendency. But then in the wanderings are the discoveries. I said, “I collect stories not history.” There are things to be learned from history, from past mistakes, from great people but there is even more to be harvested from the stories of life. From simple people living the daily journey. For the pioneers of today are those that can follow their hearts when life expects something less. The travelers of the future are those that dare to step outside the ordinary into the extraordinary. And that doesn’t involve finding some cure for a horrid disease, although I pray that we have those pioneers too.
Anyone can be extraordinary, anyone can be “museum quality” with God’s hand. I find myself a pretty “ordinary person” but sometimes I have extraordinary thoughts, sometimes I speak and it changes someone’s thinking (that in itself is pretty extraordinary), sometimes I feel a deep awareness of life slipping by and I realize that I am part of that….part of life…and that in itself is pretty extraordinary. To be a speck in this world, that God has designed.
The thing to fear about museums is that they might steal that from us. That we become so entrapped by tradition that we miss the opportunity to do something extraordinary. We might not even recognize that we can do something extraordinary. That we suffocate from “sameness”. That we cease to grow in the way God intended. That we miss opportunities because we are entombed in the “what ifs” and “I should haves”.
I collect stories not history because stories are the human element, the heart of life, the beating pulse of a world that moves so fast it blurs. Stories don’t gather dust, or mildew, stories inspire and encourage, bring tears or song. The objects in museums (in history)are just that…objects… like the body, some day they will fade to dust…..but stories…stories are the soul and will sing the song of the universe forever.