Everyone’s Got One

I tell them. You tell them. Your friends tell them. Your parents told them. Your teachers told them. Your priests, pastors and rabbis told them. Cities have them. Houses have them.  Even the walls IN the houses have them. Everyone you’ve ever met has one and, even more importantly, everyone you’ve NEVER met has, at least, one.  Your whole life has only one of these, and at the same time, is a collection of thousands. I’m writing mine, now, thinking of yours. I’m talking about stories…our stories.

My grandfather had one. Actually, he had countless stories and he told them over and over again to anyone who’d listen. Who know’s if they were true; no one cared. He told stories to entertain and telling the truth just wasn’t important to him.  The random (perhaps not) stranger I met, today, had one. He told his story to find redemption, and it broke my heart knowing, unlike most of my grandfather’s stories, his story was probably all too true. He spoke of peace, now that he’d decided to stop his cancer treatments and really live the life that remained. Damn it, I can NOT stop thinking about him.

Anyway, it seems to me for every story told, there are scores of others…well, that’s the question, I guess…how many stories of the people we meet every day, at work, and on the street, go…untold? For instance, what’s the story with that guy on Facebook, asking for prayer? The lady at the stop light, on your way to work, staring at you from inside her car as you stare at her from inside yours…what’s her story? In the past months, alone, the media has been inundated with hundreds of stories from people who felt bullets penetrate their flesh as they sought to help others find cover…thousands of stories from Dreamers, AMERICANS, terrified of being sent from their home, forever…and millions of stories from women and men who’ve been sexually harrassed…so grotesque, so unimaginable, so inconceivable…of such fear and humiliation, they could only be told with silent, unspeakable words…#metoo.

There’s one thing about stories that is absolute; everyone’s got one. And that, my friends, is pretty much it. That’s what this column’s about…my story, your story, our COLLECTIVE stories. We have them…they’re there, our COLLECTIVE stories…those stories that celebrate our differences, while, simultaneously, uniting us against all the things that would bring us down. No doubt, sharing our stories make us happier, stronger, and well, they MAKE US BETTER, as individuals and as people united by common goals. It’s going to be exhilarating at times and super uncomfortable at others…especially for me. But, truthfully, and with no reserve, I can’t wait to hear your stories. I can’t wait to TELL them. I can’t wait to know that months, years and decades down the road, when I put down my pen, the world is better, because I took it up…and told OUR stories. See you next time.

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