Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the states. Some of us had warm, savory family feasts full of laughter and hugs. Some of us had to work overtime to keep the table from erupting into open warfare. Some of us were alone, wishing we weren’t, some were alone and glad of it. For some of us it was a cruel reminder of how hard it is to put food on the table, period.
We all have stories – be they happy, sad, heart wrenching, or hopeful. And holidays are when we tell them, and often when they are made.
The aching beauty of it is: each story is utterly unique (even if on the surface they seem the same), because none of us experiences that dinner in the exact same way, even when we sit at the same table, and eat the same meal. Each of us has our own hard won perspective, built by our individual past, which created our own unique way of seeing things.
In other words: each of us has our own decoder ring. And stories are how we share them.
We share experience not simply by walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but by experiencing life through their eyes. Who knows, maybe at that gathering yesterday a story you told allowed someone else to see life through your eyes, and in so doing, shifted their worldview.
Then again, there is something to be said for walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Especially crazy Uncle Bill’s. Because, as Groucho Marx so sagely pointed out, “Then you’re a mile away. And you have his shoes.”