I often say when we sit on a bench watching people go by, when we look at people at stop lights, when we see houses fly by as we drive through a community, that everyone has a tale to tell. Each person in every vehicle, every home, or walking along the road, has a life filled with hopes and dreams and woes and heartbreak.
This week the sun grew stronger and we went back to Pier 19 Restaurant. The three-dollar margaritas bought me a delicious buzz and a small sideshow of dolphins. While we sipped, soaking in the warmth and water, many people strolled to the end of the pier where we sat and began a conversation. And, it struck me—not only does everyone have a story, they are also anxious to tell it.
En route, we stayed in Indianapolis. I went down for breakfast and the young man spooning out eggs was talkative. It was his first day back to work and he was happy to have had the time off because his brother came home with his first baby. A boy. Cute as a button and, wow, his brother had a baby. He’d never been an uncle before and he wanted the world to know about it.
The next morning we were in Arkansas. The weather forecast was dismal, predicting mass flooding and potential tornadoes. I scooped the eggs onto my plate as the cook told me about another flood when she had to decide whether to try and walk home or not. The water was high and she had small children waiting for her. “Well, I figured if Jesus could do it, so could I.” And, she did, though I’m not sure she actually had to walk on water to accomplish it.
The other day we stopped at the local beach bar, the Wanna Wanna. We met a retired couple. They had taught together throughout their careers and had stayed in the peripheral of each other’s lives. Her husband died eight years ago, and she kept meaning to reconnect with her colleague. She didn’t until he had a stroke and could not return home without care. She took up the challenge and they are now incredibly happy together.
These folks learned very little about me. Not because I'm not willing to talk but because they didn’t care to find out. They wanted to share their lives, their stories. As well they should. They were rich and meaningful. And, I listened. Because that’s my job. To mark the stories of our lives. Not just my life. Our lives.