Have you interviewed your grandparents? Parents? Aunts and uncles? Cousins three times removed? Childhood best friends? The mayor of your hometown?
Not that you need to spend your time sitting with all these people, but consider that you might have a better understanding of yourself, the world around you and the meaning of life if you took the time to sit with people and really listen to their stories.
I’m leading a writers workshop this fall (check it out here) and thought it was about learning to write stories better or learning to blog better or learning to write better for work. It IS about all those things. But I just realized another option for it, too.
At my friend’s funeral the other day, I marveled at the stories we tell after someone passes away. I knew most of those that I heard at the funeral, but there were some things I hadn’t known about him and I loved him even more for learning them.
My friend was not the kind of person to boast about himself, so it’s unlikely that I would have heard these stories from him directly. We are surrounded by miraculous people and we don’t even know the extent of their greatness.
I believe life would be better if we sat down with more people and truly listened. Took notes and wrote down what they tell us – the experiences they’ve lived – to have and know and hold close.
I interviewed three of my grandparents while they were living. When my grandmother passed away last November, I was so glad we had this book of her life, with photos, that I’d created a decade ago. I quickly copied it for others close to her and they were so glad to have her voice, and her journey, to take home and keep close.
Look around you. Stop and ponder the wonderfulness of the people you’ve gathered in your life. Who do you love? Why do you love them? What do you know about them? What do you not know?
It’s time to dig deeper.