Thursday, October 25, 2007


It is one of those crystal crisp fall days. Even living in the city, where the air is anything but clean, days like today appear just a bit more distinct. Maybe it's the way the light glances off the leaves in the midday sun. Or the sharp shadows cast in the cool afternoon breeze stark against the impossibly azure heavens. The edges of life seem more clearly defined than usual, shapes more comprehensible.

On days like today, I feel like the world is an apple. Biting into it is joyful overload, full of satisfying tastes and textures. Every bite is different, and good. Very good.

I had bible study this morning. I've been attending this particular group for a few weeks now, and am enjoying it. The discussions are interesting, whether they are directly applicable to the topic of the day or far afield. We're studying Genesis this fall and one of the women is sharing a version of the Bible I hadn't yet run across. Its rendering of the scriptures is like fall: clean, crisp prose turned poetry by stillness and movement.

It's why I was attracted to the Bible as a teenager. The cadence of language, the rise and fall of voices, telling story, telling history--and her story. Story, history, is an abiding interest of mine. I find nothing so fascinating as the story of you. It's one of the reasons that, for all I am a creature of habit (same breakfast for 27 years, I kid you not), I love new people and places. Because new people and new places means new stories. And, if I'm quiet and interested, I will hear them.

This fall, I am busy learning the stories of this new place. And, as I've spoken of before, each story has many sides to it. The staff member who caused such pain for some brought great comfort to others. The church that opened its arms to some slammed shut for others. The school that is a beacon and a haven for some is a place from which to escape for others. Not surprising, really. There is no one view of any place or person. Yet, time and time again, we are shocked to learn through other's stories that they experience X or Y differently than we do.

This is the stuff of fascination for me. Yes, there's always the prurient motive of gossip in wanting to hear those stories. I don't pretend to be above wanting to know because I want to know. But how can anyone not be attracted to the more of any story? The knowledge of why we do what we do, how it compares to me and mine, shared experiences and defining differences? This is the richness of the history of us. It opens us to others, knowing the times we haven't shared, readying us for those that we might share.

History can be a bulwark, for good or ill. It can be a wall that keeps newcomers out, and certainly has been used as such. We are often supremely comfortable with who we are and who we are with. Why change what is?

I like comfort, too. I have no elegant argument for change. But, if you tell the story again, each new hearing weaves the listeners into the story. It becomes a little piece of their history, too. Through listener, the hearer may understand. Just a bit. And couldn't we all use a bit more understanding in our lives?

Share your stories with me. Please. :-)



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