The Power of Story

Book birds

Picking a Blog Name, Part Four

(To read Part One, click here)

I admitted in A Godlike Little Loaf of Bread that, while I can construe my name to mean almost anything, it really is simply my name. Hence, the need for a subtitle. I found that in The Power of Story, which also happens to be the motto of my production company Moriah Media. Why?

I’ve always been a storyteller, but it took me a while to realize it. I’m an only child, so I spent a great deal of time telling myself stories as a kid. My preferred prop was my American Flyer wagon. Radio FlyerIt could be anything: a car, a spaceship, even Kirk Douglas’s flaming burial ship from The Vikings.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy telling stories to myself, it was that they were just so stirring I had to share them with the whole world! So I reenacted them. Out loud. On the neighborhood streets. At six in the morning. To wit: I learned how to tell stories before I learned when it was OK to tell them.

My third grade teacher Mrs. Restadius booked me for my first legit gig. “If you finish your work early,” she informed the class, “I’ll have Mitch tell a story!” Did I love being ranked as a reward alongside cookies and milk? You betcha! But I also became confused…

Thinking my joy was rooted solely in the performing of stories, I concluded that my calling was acting. And for a while the roar of the greasepaint was enough. But by the time I reached college as a theatre major, I knew something was missing. So I began writing and directing, as well. It still wasn’t enough.

My crisis came to a head when, while performing a long monologue in a strange play by a European existentialist, I went completely blank. As I stared out over that lagoon full of half-lit faces, actorall I could think was, “Why am I doing this?” I didn’t believe what I was saying. I wasn’t even sure what I was saying.

That night I had a massive panic attack, and for months afterward struggled to shut out the voice in my head shouting, “You have no purpose!” Life had to be more than simply driving until I ran out of gas. There had to be a destination.

I needed to be about something.

Desperate, I began thumbing through an old heirloom Bible and one day came upon a passage that read, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God” (John 17:3).  The verse lodged itself in my brain and gradually began to supplant the voice shouting, “You have no purpose!”

I now knew—although it took me months to accept it—that I had a purpose. I’ve had many doubts since then

But never about my purpose in life.

To read Part Five, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Story Power and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to The Power of Story

  1. Bill Sweeney says:

    This is great, Mitch.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Pingback: A Godlike Little Loaf of Bread | Mitch Teemley

  3. Mark Brady says:

    Nice post, and seeing the big wagon that is in a park in Spokane, WA. brought back good memories, so thanks for those as well.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I can relate. When I was a teacher and the class started getting out of control, I only had to say, “Did I ever tell you guys about the time …” and things would quiet down pretty quickly. If they didn’t, I’d hear a kid say “Shut up, guys! She’s gonna tell a story!” (They didn’t realize I was still teaching them through said story. 😉 )
    Other things can satisfy for a brief time, but sooner or later (for me, usually sooner) the question arises, “Why am I doing this?” Keep sharing the answer!

    Personal note: I went into my spam folder and didn’t find the notes you referred to (about my book). However, I did find about 40 emails that shouldn’t have been there, a couple of which were important! I’m not sure how they got there, but I’m glad you got me to check the folder, or I would have missed them. I guess I have to check my spam folder regularly, since Yahoo doesn’t seem to know the difference between spam and what’s important! 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I think your purpose in life has augmented your stories. Keep them coming, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. revruss1220 says:

    This is great. It reminds me how often I have found myself circling the answer, coming agonizingly close to it, and yet not quite connecting. In those moments it usually takes some kind of unexpected and powerful shove to get me where I need to go. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Garfield Hug says:

    👍😃A good fun post!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lady Quixote says:

    I love stories! Love reading them, love hearing them, love telling them. Now I’m wondering if anyone has ever done a study on what happens to one’s blood pressure, heart rate, and brain waves when they hear the words: “Once upon a time…”

    Liked by 3 people

  9. mitchteemley says:

    Yes! Or “It was a dark and stormy night…” Or “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… ” Or “In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit…”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Heidi Viars says:

    Mitch, I think one of our greatest fight in life is against those voices! Glad your voice is louder then they!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. boromax says:

    This is so good. So encouraging. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jennie says:

    Way to go to your third grade teacher!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Pingback: The Power of Story | Providing Inspiration,Comfort,and Encouragement – WINDOWS FROM HEAVEN PHOTOGRAPHY-MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  14. great post. have been a teacher for a very short period in my life. But really understand the need to give and make hear.. thank you for writing

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Thanks! I was also an only child for the first 11 years of life — spent time making maps, stories, games, etc. I used many “abstract” toys that could represent many things — marbles, coins, Lincoln Logs, dinosaurs, Anyway, you might enjoy some of these stories that deal with leadership & empathy. https://petersironwood.com/2018/08/07/myth-of-the-veritas-the-first-ring-of-empathy/

    You might enjoy as well this essay about the power of stories. https://petersironwood.wordpress.com/2017/08/24/fool-me/

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Pingback: Life With a Purpose | Mitch Teemley

  17. Pingback: INSPIRING PEOPLE: Mitch Teemley | Colleen Scheid

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