Through the work Chris and I do, we have the privilege of hearing the stories of people from all kinds of places, spaces and backgrounds.
So often I am humbled by their wisdom, resilience, humour and strength – often under circumstances that could leave them bitter, bowed or defeated. And I feel honoured they have felt able to open their hearts and share their stories with us.
It’s a reminder in this busy, media-saturated world of ours that the most powerful stories are not necessarily those of the rich and famous.
How often do we give our time, our spirits and our hearts to listen – really listen – to the stories of others? Ordinary people, with extraordinary stories.
Here is a song from one of my favourite Aussie singer-songwriters, Judy Small, which asks much the same question.
How many times do they tell their tales to strangers,
Who turn away in silence and pretend they didn’t hear.
How many times do we throw away such chances,
Never knowing what we might have learned with open ears.
(From How Many Times, by Judy Small)