Telling Stories

Today, something was brought, forcibly, home to me.  I have been toying with an idea for several weeks and today I was smacked in the face with the reality that it is time to put my idea into action.

A few times in the past several weeks I have been approached by others who would like me to write stories about their lives.  And I’ve been flattered beyond all belief but never really believed that telling others’ stories was something I could do and do well.  I love telling the stories of our family, our life.  It’s easy for me…I live it every day but I have been afraid to take others’ stories on because I wasn’t sure I could do justice to their lives.  Today, I realized it is time for me to try and tell other people’s stories. The realization smacked me in the face by way of a little Phillipino woman.

Zach and I were traveling home from Maryland together and decided it was time for lunch.   We wanted it to be a quick trip through the Wendy’s drive through so we could get home.  But as we were getting off the interstate, I decided I really had a hankering for some good, ol’, fried chicken ala KFC.  Lo and behold…there’s the holy grail of fried chicken.  I whip the TRVLN ZU into the parking lot as Zach decides he needs to go in to use the facilities.  So we went from a quick trip through Wendy’s drive through to parking the car in the KFC lot and going in to order.

We walk up to the counter to place our order and pay for our food and as I hand the little Phillipino woman behind the counter my card, she says, in a heavy accent, “I’m sorry.  I’m not really with it today.  My mind is elsewhere.”  I assured her it was fine.  We all have days like that, I said.  It was while I was paying for our lunch the little woman, with a heavy accent, began to pour out her story to me and it ended with me knowing more about her than I know about some of my friends.  I have no idea what her name is but she needed a willing ear to hear her tale and I happened to be there.

She told me she just found out, yesterday,  her husband of 20 years has been having a five year long affair with another woman.  He fathered a child with this woman, bought her a car, and lived with her when he wasn’t home with his wife and family. She told me she had called her sister, who is a psychologist back in the Phillipines, for advice.  She asked her sister why she wasn’t sad, why she couldn’t get mad.  This little woman told me, with not a hint of tears in her eye, that her sister told her it was because she was in denial.  She asked me if I thought she was in denial.  I agreed with her sister, she was definitely in denial.  How could she not have been…she just found out yesterday!  She went on to ask me for my advice…what should she do?  Should she leave him now, or wait…Oh, why me, I thought!  Heavens, this is not my area.  I couldn’t wait to leave, to escape from this little woman who desperately wanted my advice and for me to hear her story ~ to validate her.

I did a mental head slap as Zach and I loaded back into the car….realizing I should have stayed and heard the rest of her story.  I should have gotten her name and told her story the right way.  It was then I knew, that I would like, and need, to tell other people’s stories.  I don’t know what made this little woman spill her guts to me but  I realized then I want to tell stories, not just about me and my family, but about others as well.   It is time to tell stories.  Wanna help me?

Telling stories, for the love of my children…

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