Your life is YOUR story – and whatever you experience and feel is your reality. Personally, the past few months have had its share of ups and downs dealing with false friends, real estate agents, inspectors, banks, movers, and various sundry “characters” in my story. The good news is that I emerged from it all with a new beginning (having sold my “albatross” house – far too big and far too costly!) and now claim a wonderful waterfront apartment as my new home.
Just like yours, my story is laden with emotions, experiences, and observations that are unique to me. No one else can tell my story or your story like either of us can, yet we often lose sight of this. Frequently, we get caught up in thinking that we know another person’s story as well as our own. I call this the reality “fog“.
As a case in point, last Saturday’s St. Petersburg Times featured an article about a 78-year old woman whose at-home death four months ago was only discovered this week by a property manager. The article stated that the woman lived alone and that “there’s no evidence that there was anyone in her life as far back as 1992,” according to a police official.
The relevance of the article to my topic concerns not the woman’s death or the circumstance, but rather the judgements and observations by virtual strangers. “She really was as much of a hermit as somebody can be… she really did not want anybody to come inside ever. It’s a sad thing for sure,” remarked the managing member of her apartment complex. A landlord from 16 years ago said “She kept her head down and walked fast and worked hard… I think she was upset that she didn’t have a family or wistful that she lost touch.”
Personally I find it astonishing that people who barely knew Joan Greeley (the woman) would so eagerly think that they knew her story well enough to tell it themselves. Certainly the story reads better as a human interest story by including observations, but it illustrates that reality in absence of facts is really just “fog.”
I believe we can change this situation! Before you judge another, get to know the people in your life personally – take an interest in their life and their loves. Truly listen to their story and be patient to hear their perspective and insights. Then and only then can you or I begin to see through the fog to envision their reality.
I know that I do not want others to tell my story without listening to what I have to say – how about you? Let us give others the same courtesy and let them tell us their story!
Have an awesome week of listening, learning, and living!