I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about tonight. Oh, a topic popped up repeatedly throughout the day, however I didn’t feel ready to unpack my thoughts about it. Coming home late, after a full day, I wanted to take the easy path this evening, posting a couple of pictures with few words.
As I contemplated creating that brief post…and titling it Every Picture Tells a Story…I realize the very word I was shying away from was there.
That word has been coming into my awareness frequently. It caught my attention and snagged my heart earlier today when I saw this quote:
“You know my name. Not my story.”
As I sat undecided tonight, wavering between writing the post I knew I was supposed to write…and taking the easy out…a character on a TV show that I wasn’t even paying attention to said: “Story…” The invitation couldn’t be any clearer.
What if…instead of creating stories about the people we know, the people we don’t yet know, the person we’ve just met, the stranger standing in line next to us at the supermarket, we stayed open and curious and allowed them to tell us their stories?
What if…we refused to accept as truth the stories that we make up about people, and stopped judging them based on our own inaccurate characterizations?
What if…we asked to hear their stories and we listened without our own opinions clouding our perceptions?
You know my name. You don’t know my story.
You see my skin color, my gender, my age, my size. You don’t know my story.
You see the clothes I wear, the house I live in, the car I drive. You don’t know my story.
You see my actions, my frustrations, my struggles, my triumphs, my successes. You don’t know my story.
You experience my rage, fear, shyness, anxiety, silence, crudeness, sorrow, emotion, lack of emotion. You don’t know my story.
You hear my accent, my child crying, my nervous laughter. You don’t know my story.
I have a strong desire to go beyond the reactions I may have to people, and learn who they are, through their stories. I want to listen with my heart, get beneath the surface clatter, see with empathy, offer understanding.
And if their stories can’t be shared yet, for whatever reason, I desire to feel compassion. I choose to live with an I-don’t-know-their-stories awareness, rather than create stories about who they are based on my own thoughts about them. I want to get comfortable with “I don’t know”, and accept that I don’t.
I’m not sure where this journey is going. I don’t need to know. I only know that I am being drawn, guided, inspired. I’m being invited to love unconditionally and experience deeper compassion.
This is part of my story, and it is still unfolding. In sharing my story, you may feel inspired to tell your story as well. Go ahead. I am listening.