My favorite part of our meetings this year is when each person took a few minutes to tell (a very brief version of) their life journey. Many made us laugh. Others made us cry. Some left us with our mouths open in disbelief. Each story was unique.
Some used pictures. Others told stories. Some communicated with confidence and creative presentations. Others simply read from their notes. Some were so nervous that their voice cracked and their knees literally trembled as they spoke… but they did it, and it was powerful.
I could relate to some of the stories; others were very, very different from my reality. Either way, I felt more connected to each one as I came to know them just a little bit better. Through our vulnerability, we were building community.
Pain permeated many of the stories; loneliness, illness, rejection, death. Some told of shame or fear, lost dreams or broken hearts. For a few the pain was fresh and raw; a story being told for the first time. For others, the sting is gone now, and they are living a new life. I often heard a thread of grace, redemption, and hope.
Although I have always been a “people person” and have enjoyed meeting many different types of people, I feel like this year I have come to appreciate each person’s unique story more than ever. I have especially treasured those people who are open and real with me, allowing me to see their brokenness and their imperfections… and those who have invited me to share their new adventures and their joys.
It is sometimes more comfortable and natural for us to compare, or hide, and isolate ourselves from others, but I recognize each life is valuable and lived to be told. In a safe place, with a commitment to growth, our lives are a priceless gift when shared with others. As our lives intersect, they are like the threads in a beautiful tapestry… not to be hidden, but to bring warmth and beauty and richness to our world.
Do you share your (real) life with others? Are you a safe place for others to share their story?