I have had the privilege for the last fifteen years to be in strangers' homes, sitting around their table listening to their stories and sharing mine. The first seven years was with the census bureau and the last eight years is with my job with Nielsen Tv ratings. You can't even begin to image how many homes that has been. But, I hope you can get a glimpse of how many stories that has been.
I am a conservative person for the most part. Spent my life in churches, homeschooled my children, and just lived a simple life of loving Jesus and not having any of my ideas or beliefs question because I had no one to question them and I was around everyone who shared my belief and conviction in every topic that we talked about. never was it question. just a lot of nodding of heads in agreement.
I have had my beliefs challenged by the homes that I have sat at their tables. I have heard stories that would make your stomach churn and your heart feel broken. I have sat at the table of a woman that had just fled an abusive relationship with her daughter who is blind. Just got on a bus and never looked back. I have been at a table of a couple that the husband is transitioning, and they have been married for eight years and came from a religious background that we shared together. I have had to privilege of sitting at tables that had different views of mine politicly. And we discussed the differences with respect and dignity. We both walked away with an understanding. I have sat at tables after they had just received news of cancer and no insurance. I have been in homes that are in a same sex relationship and have listened to their story and walked away with an understanding that I didn't have before. I have been in homes where the justice system gave no justice and began to understand the pain of their story. i have been in both homes that had two different political views and had hate for the other. I have been inside of homes that there was a mattress and a tv on the floor as the only furniture that the single mother had. I have wept with strangers that have become my friends and have laughed so hard my stomach hurt. I have sat in homes that are worth six million dollars and her story was just as heartbreaking as the family that is living in a dilapidated trailer on a dirt road. Sorrow and happiness have no boundaries.
I am reading a book title "braving the Wilderness " by Brene' Brown She wrote a statement "People are hard to hate close up! move in." I love this statement because you don't understand how people feel or what they believe and why they believe something without having a seat at the table. You have to have your beliefs be tested at the table of life. We are never to old to learn and to show compassion. to someone else's story. They came to the conclusion through life experiences. The saying is " until you walk a mile in someone's else shoes you don't know nothing. None of my life experiences changed my life conviction but, it has softened the blow on how i talk to people. I sometimes have said, I don't know what I would've done in your shoes but, I am here to listen until you feel heard. i feel every door that I have knocked on and they have let me in was for me to learn something or for them to take something from me. Life is full of lessons and full of stories.
Healing through stories is just that, the more stories you hear the more hearts are healed. I am on a mission to help change lives through stories. My heart needs to be changed just as much as yours. We are on this Journey together. You will not be left behind. We will walk together until you can walk alone and help someone else with your story. We all need that. Let's change lives one story at a time.