Over the past couple of weeks, this blog has been a space to discuss differences and how story can overcome societal canyons created by misunderstanding, perspective or stereotyping.
As our world struggles under the strain of fear and violence, we have an intrinsic ability to share pieces of ourselves with others, to share our stories and to listen to those of others. I believe these small acts of trust will counteract this fear and violence, bringing us together.
Paulo Coelho says it this way in The Alchemist:
When I read about clashes around the world – political clashes, economic clashes, cultural clashes – I am reminded that it is within our power to build a bridge to be crossed. Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge. There is always a chance for reconciliation, a chance that one day he and I will sit around a table together and put an end to our history of clashes. And on this day, he will tell me his story and I will tell him mine.
Because sometimes it isn’t easy to tell our stories, to share those vulnerabilities, the sensitivities and struggles. Sometimes it isn’t easy to listen either, the gulf between their life and ours can seem cavernous.
But through generations, over centuries, lessons have been taught through story, by the experiences of others. Over cups of tea, dreams and disappointments have been shared; across office partitions, ideas have been explained; under sheets, fears have been whispered.
And in an era of technological advances beyond anything other generations could imagine, it’s this simple act of story-telling which can be key to grace.