Our personal stories are so important. When I first met Steve he told me he loved his dad’s many stories, and wished he could preserve them. I also shared a story or two, and that helped create a bond.
Listening to stories is important too. This is very nurturing, especially for people who are grieving. It is one way we can show them honor. The Bible says, “outdo one another in showing honor”.
At our first conversation Steve said, “You are very easy to talk to.” That turned out to be significant. He liked me from then on because he really needed someone to listen. Good listeners are rare, it seems, especially on the dating landscape.
My cherished memories are often connected with stories. I remember well the time Steve helped me peel potatoes in my kitchen. He told me a story about how he made a potato gun in his youth that would launch the spud for a quarter mile and it impressed his brother. It was so fun to hear and watch him tell it!
My Howard was a great storyteller, and people loved to be around him. He also had a hearty laugh that was totally engaging. Fun!
I learned much about listening in my GriefShare group. We share stories all the time, and no one interrupts another. This is not a stated rule; it’s just how it works. One of the things I long for periodically now is to tell my story. By this I mean little anecdotes as well as the big events; sometimes these are even more important. And what do I need from a friend? Someone to really listen. Such friends are a great comfort.
If you want to really help someone, give them your full attention. My friend Linda lost her mother after over a year of struggle with a variety of conditions. When she needed to tell me about her mom’s last hours, it was a story of detail and emotion. My job was to give her my full attention. She was honoring me with a story about a very special family time. I needed to listen.
One reason I’m an advocate of journaling is because of stories. Journaling helps us honor or own stories. This also helps us honor the stories of others, so we maintain a vital human connection. I think that’s what healing is all about.