What the Stories Have Shown Me

As I've spent the last few weeks having heart-to-hearts and hot coffees with friends both new and old, I've seen threads of consistency and commonalities that I've come to love. In classic Friday Freewrite style, here's fifteen minutes of writing about them.

There is something enchanting about people sharing their passions. The way their eyes light up with a sparkle, the way the tone and speed of their words changes, the way their whole demeanor seems to both settle as if into a comfortable chair that's molded to their form and come alive in a wild and exciting way, like this thing they're talking about is the thing that fills their lungs with air and sets the beat of their heart.

I love how people talk about Jesus. I love that to one person, He's just a thought that's been lingering in hidden and dusty corners, mostly out of sight, but just starting to peek out and become a curiosity and something to explore. I love that to another, He's as close and dear as a lifelong friend, a companion that knows the best and the worst, someone you can't help but gush about and slip into every conversation because He's just that special and important, because He's everything and nothing makes sense without Him. 

We want to be known. We want to be heard. We want to be seen. Sometimes it manifests in us cracking jokes in crowds, dancing around wildly, attracting attention with the big, bold parts of us. Sometimes, though, it comes quietly. It comes in a cozy corner of a Starbucks or over ciders in a booth at a bar. It comes in the soft spoken sentences, the whispers of things we've never told a soul before. It comes in the questions we ask, in the ways we want to make sure this is safe and okay, in the ways we crack open the corners of our hearts we had padlocked shut for so long, thinking those monsters would scare everyone away. The weight of our experiences gets lighter when someone stands with us and helps us hold on and carry the load. I don't think there's a soul in the world who wants to go it alone, wants to be the only one in the middle of the raging storms, wants to be anonymous forever.

Sometimes, one simple question is all it takes. A friend told me last night of a conversation he had with an 85-year-old man while in the line of a hardware store and the poignant bits wisdom that were shared as the gentleman was celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary. Sometimes, it's just asking one question beyond the polite "how are you" that will give a platform for someone to share a joy or a struggle of their week.

My heart is overflowing with the stories I've heard so far this summer. I'm bursting at the seams with excitement to finally share them with you soon. To the ones I've met so far, thank you. Your stories have changed me, and your hearts have deeply encouraged mine. To the ones I've yet to meet, I'm so excited to get to know you.

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