Day 11: Stories for the Journey

I love stories. I love them enough to collect them on numerous bookshelves and to create them myself. I hear them in the music, in the poem, and in the sound of the wind shaking the leaves. But, as much as I adore a good story, I have neglected to gather them from the most fertile field of all—from you.

I observe well. I watch and file away all sorts of information for later. I’m good at reading the emotional temperature in a room with very few words exchanged. But, I haven’t always listened well. And to be a collector of stories, one who gathers and honors the journey of another, one must learn to listen.

From 1998 to 2004, CBS correspondent Steve Hartman traveled to a different town every two weeks. He opened the phone book to a random page and selected a name. He then called and asked to meet with the face behind the name, visiting with them for a few days, talking, and recording their story. He believed everyone had a story, and he created a job out of helping people tell it. Steve learned how to listen. He gave dignity to their journey by recognizing everyone has a story, however seemingly small, and the rest of us need to hear it.

I need to hear your stories. We all do. We need to know that regardless of where we find ourselves on the journey, others have walked this path too. She fell prey to the pits of parenthood. He walked through the weeds of depression.  They stumbled through a difficult marriage. I couldn’t make it as a nurse. She creates junk-yard art. He stays home to care for the kids. You sing opera. We fight justice and you leap buildings in a single bound.

Stories matter. Your story may be just the thing I need to hear when mine becomes too boring or difficult or ridiculous to repeat.

I collect stories. Would you consider sharing yours?

Tomorrow my friend and fellow writer, Michelle DeRusha will join us with a story of her own. Please join us.

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