Story. I’ve encountered the idea of story in lots of places lately. The stories we tell with our lives. How to live a better story (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story, by Donald Miller). How to participate in God’s story. How our stories connect with those of others.
Part of the idea of story is our life’s journey, where we go, who we encounter, what we do. I recently read a beautiful account of one man’s literal and figurative journey: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce. On foot, throughout his 500+ mile journey from the southern tip of England to its most northern point, Harold encountered a variety of people. I was instructed by his response to this variety, his willingness and capacity to make space for them in his life:
“He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was his journey to accept the strangeness of others. As a passerby, he was in a place where everything, not only the land, was open. People would feel free to talk, and he was free to listen. To carry a little of them as he went.
The people he met, the places he passed, were all steps in his journey, and he kept a place inside his heart for each of them.”
I think a significant element of Building Good is growing in our ability to listen, to “accept the strangeness of others” and to carry a little of them with us on our journey. In the words of E.E. Cummings, “I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart.”