For the past week or more I have really questioned myself on what it means to understand a persons story. While this question is loaded I think its pertinent to my everyday reality, I get to spend time with 30 kids in the after school program I direct and most of them have interesting stories, then on Thursday nights I shuttle drunk college students who need a ride home from a local bar. Needless to say I get develop a lot of relationships day in and day out. However I’ve come to learn that some of these relationships are better when we don’t get too personal with one another and then there are ones that become so personal I go home at night and ache for the individual.
I like to journal and write, I think I’m good at it most days. Please spare me the comments – I do a lot of self-correcting when I publish these blogs. Recently I took sometime to look at my journaling over the past few months and interestingly enough it is filled with stories about people or things that have happen during the day, which is what got me to thinking about how stories are important and give us insight into those we are around. I was able to notice how many of the stories in my journal were about after school kids, funny or sad incidents that happen while I’m shuttling drunk college students on Thursday nights, or things I noticed and overheard will sitting at my favorite coffee shop/bookstore in town. For the past few weeks I’ve made it very clear to staff members at the after school program that we need to understand a child’s background before we cast judgment on them or their family – I believe understanding their past helps us know how to communicate with them.
To be honest I don’t know the past of those who get in the van on Thursday nights but I can hope they have a bright future ahead of them and will understand that partying every Thursday is not the key to success – at least that’s what I learned some years back. I have had the opportunity to build relationship with some students while doing the “drunk ministry” but I know nothing about some of them, I don’t even know their major – shame on me, right? I do know that they seek me out every week and when I’m not there they tell me they missed me when I see them, some even text me.
From going into several coffee shops in town I’ve come to know great people that I probably would have had the opportunity to know any other way, but they encourage me when I’m having a bad day and vice versa, we share jokes and wave at each other when around town.
Oh, and people still value thank you notes (its old school, I know). To be honest, I like writing thank you notes, I do it every Thursday, I like to call it Thank You Note Thursday. I have so many people that walk up to me to tell me how much they appreciate my thank you note and how it made them feel very special. I always find myself wondering what a note card and a stamp is so special, then I realize people value time and they realize that I took time to write them a personal letter. What’s the lesson? Give people your time and undivided attention, schedules are important but time is irreplaceable and has a value beyond means. Thank you notes are relational and loving…
I don’t think I have a riveting way to close this blog but I will say there is power in knowing a persons story, being kind to others and relationships with people take time.
So what should I title this blog? I’m seriously clueless!