There are a lot of themes wandering through this Story Musing. Over the last couple of weeks I have walked through historical exhibits, and have spoken with individuals about slavery in the 21st century. And across it all runs the theme of stories.
A few weeks back I attended, with some friends, the opening of At Home In the Heartland exhibit (http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibitions/) at the Illinois State Museum. It is a beautiful exhibit of quilts and clothing, artifacts, and letters from the Civil War era. The note cards for each item tell snippets about the women who sought to support their loved ones, and a greater war effort. Taken all together they form a tapestry, or a quilt, in their own right.
This was followed by a tour of the Illinois Military Museum (http://www.il.ngb.army.mil/museum/)by the Sangamon Historical Society (http://sangamonhistory.org/). We were privileged to have a private, evening, tour. The Military Museum is one of Springfield's rare gems of a museum, which not only recognizes the sacrifices of past warriors, but of those who have given their lives in current conflicts. On the first floor is a tribute to Illinois soldiers, and a very personal one for local Guards men and women.
The director asked us to remember that, "Everything in the museum once belonged to a living soldier."
This week offered the Illinois Historical Society's (http://www.historyillinois.org/) symposium on the Emancipation Proclamation out at the University of Illinois - Springfield. Many of the panels were interesting, but the most powerful was the one entitled, "Historians Against Slavery."
I was able to attend the first part of this, and was able to learn of a student organization, named, "Western Against Slavery." (http://www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=10060). This is a multi-disciplinary group that is endeavoring to educate the public about the very real issue of human trafficking, which is a global problem.
I ended the week with a meeting with the director of Unity 4 Christ, which is a organization focused on helping unwed mothers. The stories I heard that afternoon were both sad and hopeful. Both the director, and her young charges, are all working toward shaping something better.
And while the director was happy to have me offer storytelling there was the unspoken question, "Why do you want to? What is your reason for volunteering this?"
She had offered me honesty, and honesty is something I returned.
Storytelling is a talent that was gifted to me; along with a secure and loving childhood. I had parents that not only gave me that safe life, but also helped mentor others. And who listened to those who came with troubles.
If I can return a little of those blessings to others than it is definitely a life worth lived.
Storytelling may be a business that I want to be in, but that doesn't mean that if I can't offer it as a gift when needed.
I am a Springfield, IL based storyteller with a fascination for how folklore travels, and for history.