The Good Genes

“If I hadn’t been there when she was born, I’d swear she wasn’t mine!”  Ella smiled down at her three-week-old daughter and then at her laughing husband, Nick.  I’ve never been very good at looking at a baby and telling which parent she looks more like, but even I had to admit that the dark-haired, red-faced bundle in her arms looked like a carbon copy of her husband.  I easily recalled when their first baby was born two years ago and Nick was lamenting that Ethan looked just like Ella.  My, how the tables had turned!  And now, we three sat and laughed about it.

It seems like I inherited all of the recessive genes in my family.  Surrounded by tall folks, I am 5’2”.  In the family pictures, I’m the only blonde.  Despite the fact that both sides of my family are peppered with fishermen and shrimpers, I don’t eat seafood—at all.  Believe me, I’m grateful that a lot of the “bad” genes have missed me (i.e. alcoholism, baldness, diabetes, and macular degeneration). 

img030But I don’t think I was really expecting to inherit a lot of the “good” genes either.  While some of my cousins got genes that helped them become skinny and rich, I got genes that kept me round and marginally broke.  And while I wanted genes that made me a good athlete (like my cousin who was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader or my cousin–pictured with me here–the basketball star), I only got genes that made me a good spectator…  And did I mention that I’m really short?

But by the grace of God, I inherited the VERY BEST of the “good” genes: The Storyteller Gene.

In my family, we have two kinds of family lore: We have The Truth.  And we have The Story.  For example, The Truth is that my Great-Granddaddy, Dr. Staton, was one of the first dentists in Morehead City.  He was born in NC and probably lived here his whole life.  But when I was growing up, my Granddaddy told it a little different.  The Story is that Dr. Staton began his dental career in the Wild West, fixing the teeth of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Wild Bill Hickock.  According to my Granddaddy, he received his WWII shoulder wound while eating fried chicken in a foxhole.  And the way Granddaddy tells it, Blackbeard buried three golden cannonballs on my grandparents’ waterfront property. 

And folks wonder where I get my imagination…

One of the most daunting tasks of my adult life has been to figure out my identity—untangling the knot of genetics and expectations and desires to find out who God means me to be.  When I was twenty, I walked away from my family, my home, and everything familiar to me because I believed that the only way to find myself was to get as far away from the “knot” as possible.  I couldn’t figure out who I was until I stopped hearing the expectations and desires of others preached to me on a daily basis.  Little did I know that no matter where I went, I was going to have people speaking into my life and trying to make me into who they wanted me to be.  And little did I know that one day, I would realize that God gave me my unique genetic combination for a reason. 

So, why do you suppose I got The Storyteller Gene instead of the Athletic Gene or the Skinny Gene?

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me to bring Good News to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting…  (Isaiah 61:1-3a)

I think that God gave me The Storyteller Gene so that I could share His Good News.  So, I can’t throw a ball or be a model…  I’m okay with that.

About Sarah Salter


  1. Thank goodness. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if people only came in 39 flavours?

  2. Vanessa says:

    That’s why we love you! You gave me my life verse Hebrews 12:1-3.
    You are sharing the GOOD NEWS!

  3. Just popping in your world and so happy that God has blessed you with the StoryTellier gene……looks like He gave you a double portion because you have blessed me with your works.

    God is the ultimate Creator……He knows exactly what He is doing when forming each and every one of us.


  4. Of all the genes you’ve gotten, the storyteller one is the strongest. Your writing amazes me, Sarah.

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