People have told me their stories since I was a girl. I listened.
Over time, doing walking errands in the city, complete strangers would stop me and begin to tell something they wanted me to know. I listened as long as I could before I had to contine on my way.
Eventually, I began to believe there was an invisible (to me), neon light on my forehead that flashed erratically announcing: “Tell her your story. She will listen.”
Thing is: folks have been telling their stories to each other for millions of years. In a cave. Around a fire. Most likely to indicate where food could be found – an important imperative; or, what areas to avoid because of imminent danger. Perhaps, eventually, expressing more abstract sentiments, like respect or hate or love.
It’s important to share our stories with each other – our universal, human common denominators. To bear witness and to tell about our joys, losses, failures, challenges, successes; and, even a ridiculous recounting.
Sometimes, when you share a deep, long-silent experience, memory, or desire with another person, it can change you and your listener. The burden of your story is brought out and into the light, no longer tucked away in a dark place. It takes courage. You trust you’re telling someone who will not judge, who will understand and empathsize. In the telling and the listening a weight is given up and a recognition that “Ah ha, I know what you’re talking about, I’ve had the same experience, too!”
By telling, you can, also, share a story in a way that reveals just how silly we can be, making complete nincompoops of ourselves (often in public) that elicits a similar, response: “Me, too!” Laughter is a healing thing.
Imagine, if you will, for just a moment, that you’re sitting around an open fire, with millions of stars dancing in the blue-black night sky. What story do you want to tell?