I am sitting in an airport gate area and happened to look at those around me. There are 2 gentlemen across from me wearing polos and shorts. From their attire and conversation, I assume they are going on a guys’ golfing trip. Beside me, there is a young girl talking on the phone. She is slightly animated, which makes me think she is really excited about her conversation. There is a woman nearby who is staring off into space. The look on her face is hard to read, and could mean that she is bored, mentally drained, or processing a trip she doesn’t want to take.
Each person here is covered in a story. Some words are written in invisible ink, and passersby will never read that chapter. Some words are written in large, bold letters and can be read from a mile away. I couldn’t even begin to guess the chapters in each of these people’s lives up until this moment.
My dad took an oral history class in college, and this became a passion of his. He saw stories in each person and loved discovering those. He had a charisma that softened direct questions and helped people to open up and share their stories.
Each chapter of our stories is made up of experiences and our responses to those experiences. There are some whose stories are so full of unimaginable tragedy, and there are some whose stories are like a fairy tale.
What stories are the people around me bringing into this room? What are the words that narrate their lives? There is a set of people I know who are part of the good around me, and they are those people who treat each person they encounter as though they are doing the best they can. They seem to understand that they could have walked into a part of that person’s story at a precarious time. They become a character in that person’s story because of their encounter, and decide that choosing to be kind makes them a hero instead of a villain.