Limited moments spin away while we busily attend to details and dive into our phones.
The kids are moving out, getting married, starting careers.
Someone suffers a stroke, someone falls, what is our plan for aging?
Sit down with someone you know who is a little or a lot older and coax out one story. A first job, a favorite pet, an accomplishment she is most proud of. Next time try for another. What was the last movie she saw? How did he end up in that career? What did he like most about being a ________?
I’m still learning about my parents in their 70s. I just recently discovered my dad and I both like to watch touching films. And every time we go out to meet a client or look at a house, he shares a story about an interesting homeowner or measuring a three-story house by himself (for as-built drawings).
All our stories are stored within us and the people we briefly intersected. Unless we share them, they disappear along with us.
A soldier recently told a story of a World War II bomber plane crewman who released the bombs as the pilot flew over the target. One day, a bomb wouldn’t release and its timer had already started. To save the lives of his crewmates, he opened the access hatch, crawled onto the bomb, and manually released it while still astride it.
Those guys remembered him and his sacrifice. The officer who related it, much too young to be there himself, remembered him. I shared the story with my daughter. And now you know it too. Even without knowing his name, his story is powerful.
Sharing stories connects us.
Go get a story.
Write down yours.
Try to get a story from a loved one who you’ve only known through her relationship to you. What was she like at your age? Your daughter’s age?
Feature image by Michael Shaheen on flickr.