My dear friend Maureen in Hawaii reminds me of the importance of “Talking Story.” This is a cultural thing not just in that lovely state but other places too. In fact, it is one of the things that makes us uniquely human. You can hear it visiting with farmers here in New Mexico, standing together, watching the irrigation water flow into the onion field and hearing the story of how their family came to this country four generations ago. You can see it in the eyes of the Native American man standing in his cool, shadowed room at the Taos Pueblo as he speaks of horse training and how the hot springs ease the aches and pains afterwards.
Look for the Story
I’ve learned to look for story wherever I am and to give margin and space for hearing. It’s not all about business and deadlines, of course we have to finish the task, but take the time to hear the stories too.
Stuck by the side of the road? I’s an adventure! Lost in a strange town? It’s an adventure! Found a gorgeous little beach off the coast highway? It’s an adventure!
My parents loved to travel and raised my brother and me with a good sense of adventure. Every summer, as soon as school let out we’d load up the camper and tag along on my dad’s business trips. The route always took in a great number of other things on the way to and from wherever we were going. Dollars were short but my folks managed to work in the gift of travel this way and expand our borders. I still find travel to be a great form of education and inspiration.
Some of the images in my memory bank:
Crawdad fishing in a crystal cold Oregon stream, with our jeans rolled up to our knees, then cooking our catch in the camper as the rain beat on the roof. Singing “Chantilly Lace” at the top of our lungs along with the Big Bopper on the oldies station. Sledding on the north slope of a Colorado mountain in June during a long haul drive to somewhere else. The, “Hey, let’s stop by the road and you kids can sled on your coats” moment. Reading massive numbers of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries to pass the time during the drives. Wow! Such great memories. My folks taught us to look for the serendipity in life—those sometimes spontaneous, sometimes planned treasures of time, location or people met along the way.
This gift of a sense of adventure has stood me in good stead through life, providing needed flexibility, a sense of humor and anticipation. Have to admit, I’m a planner so I’m still working on the flexibility part! But Mom’s words, shouted back through the wind, “Isn’t this an adventure?!” as we cruised down the highway on a motorcycle, my 12 year old lanky arms wrapped around her, have stayed with me for several more decades down the road.
I think of conversations overheard as a child sitting around a circle of adults, listening as they recounted experiences, hunting trips, babies (this one not so much), travels and interesting people they had met. Maybe it’s inevitable that I grew up loving words and now focus on honoring people’s lives by telling their stories. Each life is a God given unique gift, something to cherish.
In this blog I’ll be sharing thoughts on life adventures, memories and storytelling and give you some tools and inspiration for sharing them with your family. Sometimes we’ll talk a little history, after all we’re part of the ongoing stream and human beings haven’t changed any over the years! Most of all I hope to encourage you to talk to the people in your life, young and old, about their memories, hopes and dreams. They will feel valued, you might learn something and you both will have the joy of sharing stories.
I invite you to share your life journey, contact me and let me know your memories, the things that matter in your life and what you’ve learned from others. Will this be the year you share your story?