Friday, 30 January 2015

The Story of our Lives


I often say when we sit on a bench watching people go by, when we look at people at stop lights, when we see houses fly by as we drive through a community, that everyone has a tale to tell. Each person in every vehicle, every home, or walking along the road, has a life filled with hopes and dreams and woes and heartbreak.

This week the sun grew stronger and we went back to Pier 19 Restaurant. The three-dollar margaritas bought me a delicious buzz and a small sideshow of dolphins. While we sipped, soaking in the warmth and water, many people strolled to the end of the pier where we sat and began a conversation. And, it struck me—not only does everyone have a story, they are also anxious to tell it.

En route, we stayed in Indianapolis. I went down for breakfast and the young man spooning out eggs was talkative. It was his first day back to work and he was happy to have had the time off because his brother came home with his first baby. A boy. Cute as a button and, wow, his brother had a baby. He’d never been an uncle before and he wanted the world to know about it.

The next morning we were in Arkansas. The weather forecast was dismal, predicting mass flooding and potential tornadoes. I scooped the eggs onto my plate as the cook told  me about another flood when she had to decide whether to try and walk home or not. The water was high and she had small children waiting for her. “Well, I figured if Jesus could do it, so could I.” And, she did, though I’m not sure she actually had to walk on water to accomplish it.

The other day we stopped at the local beach bar, the Wanna Wanna. We met a retired couple. They had taught together throughout their careers and had stayed in the peripheral of each other’s lives. Her husband died eight years ago, and she kept meaning to reconnect with her colleague. She didn’t until he had a stroke and could not return home without care. She took up the challenge and they are now incredibly happy together.

These folks learned very little about me. Not because I'm not willing to talk but because they didn’t care to find out. They wanted to share their lives, their stories. As well they should. They were rich and meaningful. And, I listened. Because that’s my job. To mark the stories of our lives. Not just my life. Our lives.

4 comments:

  1. You're right--everyone has a story. I've talked to grounds keepers in Jamaica, waitresses in Georgia, etc., etc. I love doing it, even if my hubby sometimes thinks I'm being intrusive. ;-)

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    1. It's not intrusive. Usually, all it takes is "Good morning. How are you doing?" and the conversation rolls along. I figure those who don't wish to talk, won't. And, that's okay too. :0)

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  2. Rose, all I can say is "Thank you for your blog", really. You make me appreciate the small things in life, like a friendly conversation between two people who haven't known each other before and probably won't see each other again, but both are happy after their conversation - one because he could tell his or her story and the other one because he or she was thought worthy enough to listen to a part of someone else's life. And here I am, listening -or rather reading- a part of your life story. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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    1. The one thing I have learned in life is that people are just people regardless of where you go, and the vast majority are not just interesting, but incredibly kind. A memorable lesson in that occurred when DH and I were hitchhiking through Europe in our early twenties. We went to Laar because friends of ours were stationed there. They weren't home yet so we sat on the steps of their apartment building to wait. The landlady came out and barked at us We thought she was angry with two backpackers sitting on her doorstep. She abruptly ushered us in, to her apartment, and fed and watered us. When our friends came home they explained that we looked hungry and tired and she couldn't just leave us there. And, she shared her stories with us through them. It was a wonderful night. (The guttural sounds of German were new to us and it sounded like anger. That's why I worked in that misinterpretation of your language when Ana hears it on the ship to the colonies :0)). I must admit, I am fascinated with the paths that cross once in a lifetime. You may have picked that up in Raven's Path. Thanks for crossing my path and hanging around for a bit. Hope exams are going well.

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