Yesterday, I had the privilege to interview six former refugees who are rebuilding their lives in my community for videos we are going to show at a fundraiser I’m putting together. I asked them to tell me their story, which they did with such courage even though bright lights and cameras intimidated. I asked them what their hopes and dreams were for their future and the future of their children. I asked them what they would be if they could be anything. I asked them what their struggles and joys have been. Their answers were profound, meaningful, and hope filled. Hearing their stories in their own words had moved me so much that by the time it was my turn to be interviewed as a volunteer who has worked with refugees and share my own story, I was raw. So raw that I ended up crying during my interview. [Insert embarrassing moment when said video will be shown at the event on a big screen]
It got me thinking, though. Stories are powerful. Stories have the potential to motivate, inspire, change, push, challenge, and grow people. Stories are the conduit God chose when He wanted to give us something to reveal His redemption plan. Stories are the thing that create collective memories and pursue hearts. Stories matter.
I think about some of my friends whose stories are riddled with deep valleys of pain. I think of some of those friends, the bravest ones I know, who make it a point to share their stories. Not because they want attention or sympathy, but because they believe in the power of stories. I think about how many people are changed in some way by those courageous ones who open their book to the most tender, heartbreaking chapters and read it aloud. It is hard to share our story. It opens us up for ridicule, judgement, pity, attention, gossip, and the like. It can make us feel vulnerable and naked and acutely aware of the eyes turned our way. But when we are bold enough to disclose, there is always a quiet, timid voice standing in the shadow of our pages, whispering “Me too!” It is in those intersections of stories, in those places where your pain and mine meet, that people connect on the deepest of levels. It is in those seams that we begin to silence the lies that scream you are all alone and no one understands. We find light where darkness once invaded and peace where chaos festered.
But, I wonder how many stories have gone untold because of all the fear that surrounds becoming an author? How many refuse to formulate the sentences that will release their story into the world? Yet how many more are anxiously awaiting to hear one with pages like theirs so they can finally feel like another truly knows them?
Stories are powerful. They change the world. And yours is a good one. An important one. I just hope that one day, you will be brave enough to tell it.
Here’s to all the storytellers…
Until next time,