Thursday, September 21, 2006

Stories: Containers for Meaning

I have loved Rachel Naomi Remen for a long time. I discovered her many years ago when I read her book: Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal. She tells simple (and simply profound) stories of life--connections, challenges, heart-touching moments, and insights found with her patients through the years. This is a physician who would never refer to you as "the colonoscopy in Room 4" or fail to respect the mystery and miracle of healing in any form.

I went to hear Dr. Remen speak at the Indianapolis Art Center auditorium five or six years ago. It was a small venue, a private stage used for lectures on art. She stood on stage with a single spotlight, a single microphone, the podium, and her notes. Her gentle voice was magnified in the sound system but just barely. Quiet settled the room. It was like being in the presence of a great and holy spirit. You didn't care whether she actually said anything or not. You just wanted to sit there and soak it in.

This morning I received a newsletter (that I rarely read, actually, because it's so wordy), but I saw her name and felt like I was meeting up with an old friend. I went to the site and read the transcript of the interview. I was very pleased to see that Rachel still speaks my heart; she, like me, has grown in her vision and understanding (and acceptance) of life. She is, as the interviewer said, truly one of the wise people of the earth right now.

Here's the link:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)


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