As we think about what it means to see other people in light of their stories – their unique situations and experiences and circumstances – it’s also important to take hold of our own stories, and how our stories can impact others in the world around us.
Just like we can’t know the stories of people around us that we come into contact with unless we take the time to ask them and to listen, others around us can’t know our stories or where we are coming from unless we share it with them.
I was reminded of this recently when I was sharing with my new Bible study group that my dad passed away in April of 2012 and how deeply that has affected me, and how hard the process of grieving has been for me over the past year. One of the other ladies commented about how she would have never guessed that was a part of my story.
There is another mom in our group who lost a son, his third birthday would have been this past week, but I would have never known that if she had not shared it with the group. And the truth is that I still don’t know all of her story about what happened with her son. But I hope that one day she will share that with us.
Because our stories shape us, they are the essence of who we are, of how we view people and the world around us. They are the intimate parts of us where our true selves live. And stories are how we understand and learn from others around us too.
I was recently listening to an interview on The Diane Rehm show, and the guest was talking about how we learn from each other’s stories. More than the 5 Steps article or the How-To guide, we learn from people telling us about their lives, their struggles and hardships and how they’ve learned and grown and changed in their own lives.
So I really believe it is important for us to not only know our own stories – the good and the bad, the painful and the healing, the broken and the redeemed – but also to share those stories with those around us.
Because how can we know who needs to hear our exact story? How can we know how we will touch or shape another person’s life through our story? We are each unique in our stories and our lives, and yet we can have very similar experiences and we can never know how our story can impact another person.
We can help and encourage and inspire and teach one another when we share our stories with each other. When we trust each other with these intimate parts of us, when we open our lives and share ourselves with others, we are giving them the gift of our stories.
Have you ever thought about what your story is? Do you open up yourself and share your story with others around you? Do you view your story as something that can give hope and healing to another person?
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