Hey, everyone. It’s me again.
(I mean, who else would you expect it to be?)
Times are weird. I think that much is evident. Things are splitting and dividing and a lot of people are angry or desperate or just plain scared.
This is not going to be a political post. This blog wasn’t made for politics, and I want it to stay that way. It was made for stories.
And I think that now is a good time to remember how important stories really are.
All of human history is comprised of stories. There are good stories and bad stories and stories that have been forgotten. There are true stories and there are myths, but they have all somehow contributed to where we are today.
As a child, your parents or your grandparents probably told you stories about when they were kids, and about when their parents were young. Our memories of the people who came before us are made up of all the stories we know about them. And as we grow, we start to make our own stories. Maybe we start to wonder, what will they remember about me when I’m gone?
The older we get, the more we start to see that the world is full of stories we haven’t even thought about. There are stories everywhere. Everyone has a story, and everyone needs their story to be heard.
We can’t possibly hear every story there is. That would be impossible. But we can make an effort to listen to as many as we are able.
And not only that, but to listen with the intent to understand.
History is not as simple as we would perhaps like it to be. I often hear people condemning those who came before us, sometimes rather brutally, for the things that they did.
But we are seeing these things from the outside. We are only seeing a partial picture of what happened. We didn’t have to live through all the wars and sicknesses and natural disasters that we read about in history books. It’s so much easier to decide what they should have done… from the comfort of our living rooms in the 21st century, years and years after the fact, when we have all the outcomes conveniently laid out for us. Do you know for sure that you would have acted differently if you lived in that time, in that place?
On the flip side, I hear people praising our ancestors as if they did no wrong. But again, this is clearly an oversimplification. And it’s usually leaving out a lot of important details about the lives they led. They were all human, like we are. They all made mistakes, like we do. Sometimes they did truly awful things, that there is no excuse for.
Here’s something to think about:
It’s so much easier to see the shape of something from far away than it is from inside of it.
I mean, imagine if you were a bug in the middle of a doughnut. You wouldn’t know what shape that doughnut was, would you? But if you were a pelican sitting at the window looking in at the doughnut, you would be able to clearly see the shape. You wouldn’t be able to taste the doughnut though, would you?
Wow, what a metaphor that was.
The point is, we can’t look back and see history from the inside. It’s just not possible. And how well can we really judge people for things we can’t fully understand?
That’s not to say that people haven’t done absolutely horrible things throughout human history. Unspeakable atrocities have been committed by humanity.That is a known fact that I don’t think anyone is trying to deny.
Throughout human history, there have been stories that were prevented from being told, and that’s not okay.
But I guess my point is that that should be a sobering thought, rather than an opportunity to judge someone else for something they did wrong. If people are capable of committing and approving such awful things, who is to say that we are not doing the same thing now, and we’re just too close to it to recognize it? What will people say when they look back in their history books about the time we are living in now and how people behaved? What stories are we actively or passively ignoring in our world today?
It’s just a thought.
It’s important to remember where we came from. It’s important to look at both the good and the bad. If we disregard the past, we will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes our ancestors made, and we will be at the disadvantage of not being able to glean from the positive acts they performed. History never becomes irrelevant. It only builds on itself. It’s doing it right now.
We can’t disconnect from history. We are a part of it.
So, to be honest, trying to look at the whole story is kind of intimidating for people like me. I’ve never been a huge history nerd. I tend to gravitate towards fiction. But that doesn’t make me exempt from the responsibility of human history. Funnily enough, I am part of humanity too.
While we shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture, it’s just as important to focus on where we are. And I don’t mean as a world or as a country, though those are great things to consider as well. I mean as a community. The more individual stories we can hear, the better understanding we have of who we are as a people.
All of human history, as grand as it is, is at it’s core just the story of how one person’s life impacts other people’s lives.
We all have stories. All of our stories are connected. Every single person you see is just as human as you are.
It’s so easy to hear a statement and immediately judge the person who said it. Especially with social media, we see a ton of information all coming at us like bullets, and it’s easy to get angry and frustrated at everyone. But it’s important to slow down and take each individual not as an idea that you either agree or disagree with, but as a human being. A human being with flaws and also a lot of beautiful pieces.
A human being with a true story to tell, if someone will just take the time to listen to them.
We need to have real conversations with people. Dialogues, where we seek to understand each other, rather than tear each other down- where it’s okay to disagree, even bitterly, and still acknowledge that we are all human beings with an intrinsic value that nothing can diminish.
The stories, no matter how terrible they are, all matter. For better or for worse, they have made us who we are.
We need to remember that the stories are all around us, and that they are just as real as our own. We need the stories because they are how we connect with one another, and without connection, what are we?
I call these Story “Rambles” because I tend to…ramble. I don’t organize these posts like essays. I don’t have bullet points. I don’t have…a way to finish this sentence.
But my main point in writing this post is to say that everyone deserves for their story to be heard. Your story matters. The person next to you has a story that matters too. Be someone who listens. Be someone who seeks to understand the stories and where they come from.
The stories are everywhere, waiting to be heard.