Everyone has one….

Wife and Nephew

It has encounters, dreams, moments, losses, and things. In it there are achievements, betrayals, joys, and failures. Everyone, no matter how rich, how poor, how old or how young, everyone has a story. It may be long or short, told or unheard, it is a story; it is their story.

I have heard the details of some of these stories, but only chapters or moments. A person’s life can never be fully known except for the knowledge of the Creator. We are not even aware of all the details of our own saga. Our story impacts those around us and they see behind us.

Two Olympic gold medalists have shared bits of their story with me; they tell of intensity of training and being a little different. My step-sisters have spoken of the events of their children; they have joys and struggles which most parents know. I was privileged to the discussion of two bed bound patients in elder care, one African-American and the other Native-American, on which people had suffered the greatest at the hand of the white man. A military officer has acknowledged in my presence decisions which ended the lives of his men through the tears in his eyes.

I have observed many moments, and you have too. I saw my uncle Ron learning to walk, he learned to walk several times as an adult, once after an injury and again after both knees were replaced. I proudly watched my son beaming as the youngest bicycle rider to complete a 160-mile bicycle ride and as he received his Master of Science at Aggieland. I was there to witness a mother when she first learned that the covered body in the car bent against a utility pole was her daughter. I have experienced many pieces of other people’s stories.

One of my greatest lessons in empathy was from a man, Larry S., who was facing a tough time in his marriage. His his wife had, two years before, been in an automobile accident leaving her with the capacity of a child. I expressed that I did not know how to relate to his experience. He provided me with this, “We can always relate to another person. You too have a worst thing that has ever happened to you; we all have. Nothing else is needed; it is the worst thing that has ever happened.”

Tell me, do you see the passages of history in the wrinkles of the old woman sitting in a wheelchair? What is the last paragraph in the mean eyes of the bully; is this a reaction to an unresolved episode? What of the mug shot on the nightly news crime report, is it anything more than a sound bite of a life? What prompts the smiling movie star, is it the joys of success or a hidden tale of guilt? Could it be that you are witnessing a moment and not the whole account? Is there “more?”

Stephen R. Covey, in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” writes of a space between stimulus and response. It is here, he says, we can take time to think. What might we think? Maybe we could think about the person in front of us? What has the day brought them as input to their story? How has that affected them? And yesterday?

What is your “worst thing?” What is your best experience? Have you ever laughed, spilt, lied, smiled, tripped, or cried? What then is your favorite, scariest, or funniest thing to have ever happened to you?

I believe we are all created in one image, a common likeness. If this is true, then we should look to see this family resemblance in each face. We should know that we can relate, if we try.


About sturner2

I am curious, not fearful or unafraid. I have delivered babies into this world. I have held the dying until their departure. Life, what is if for? What is it about? Do I know or don't I? Knowledge is elusive and never complete. The more I know, the more I know I don't know. My boss once asked me if I knew what I was doing. "No sir," was my reply, "but that has never stopped me before." This is one of those valuable lessons my mom taught me. Just because you don't know doesn't mean you shouldn't. I am willing. I am not always able. I have heard that "If it is worth doing, it is worth doing until you get it right." Here am I, send me. What is there about me that is different than all the rest? Possibly not all that much. I am a soul longing to do more, share more and know more. Born into a body in 1960, my parents raised me and continue to show me. My wife loves me. My children teach me. My friends stand by me. I share in this journey with many others. I am grateful. I have experienced more than 30 years as a husband, more than 30 years as a dad, and more than 30 years in the fire service. I continue to grow, feel and learn; and too, I diminish, numb, and forget. In honor or disgrace, blame or praise, I am prepared.
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7 Responses to Everyone has one….

  1. mom says:

    Beautifully written, to make one think and hopefully realize the moments we flit away wastefully, not realizing that we are limited for time to express ourselves. Time to express our deepest feelings for those around us that make our world.

  2. Jeanne says:

    The words you used have expressed emotions beyound your years. Yes, we all have had our trials and our worst moments. Some just seem to handle them better than others. But, you made me stop and think for a moment. We need to express our feelings more every day and not just on special occassions like birthdays or anniversaries. I am going to attempt to apply this knowledge to my every day. I hope I can tell those around me and those not so close, how much they all mean to me even though I don’t see them frequently or maybe see them daily. My family and friends mean a lot to me and life would not be the same without these precious people. Thanks for opening my eyes a little more. Goes to show you can learn something new every day and sometimes that knowledge comes from unexpected places. Thank you and I do love you and your family. Hope all is well, Aunt Jeanne

  3. Genie says:

    Wow, what a powerful post! I agree we can relate to one another if only we just try.

  4. What a powerful post..Definitely, we all have our share of stories to tell the world if only people can relate and understand. Then, maybe there will be peace on earth. Absolutely, love your post. All the best, Jenny

  5. sturner2 says:

    Thanks Jenny. I think we choose to relate or not. Maybe someday?

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