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We all have a story

We all have a story. It doesn’t matter where we grew up, how much money we have in the bank or what we do for a living. It’s easy to make assumptions about people based on just one encounter, but we sell others and ourselves short if we don’t move beyond initial impressions. The answer? Get to know people. Sharing the story of our own lives and listening to others speak about their journey is vital. The gift on the other side is often a connection, or at the very least an appreciation for the multifaceted lives of others. 

Several years ago my husband Houston and I facilitated six week dinner groups in conjunction with our church where we curated a time of questions and answers after dinner. Much like the familiar Alcoholics Anonymous greeting, one by one we got to our feet and said, “Hi, my name is _______.” The group then responded, “Hi ________.” Around the extended table we answered questions, which began at week one with something as innocuous as, “Do you prefer broccoli or asparagus?” and “What is your dream vacation destination?” As the weeks progressed we shared a little deeper. And as each person sat down, those around the table said, “Thank you, ________.” It might not sound like much, but the experience of having 20 other people listen to you, learn your name and thank you for sharing was transformative. In a short six week time frame, many of the participants formed close friendships. And even those who didn’t walked away with a better understanding of people, and possibly a realization that their preconceived perceptions were wrong.

Now, whenever we have a Chef’s Table Experience at our farm, an artist shares their story as it relates to their creativity. While those of us sitting around the table may not be uber creative, for a few minutes we are carried along on the journey of a photographer, painter, actor or spoken word artist. We leave with a broader perspective of people. We leave enriched.  

As people, each experience we have is like a different thread being woven into a handmade tapestry. No two are exactly alike. And that’s what makes them special. There are parts of many people’s stories that I can relate to and others that are very foreign. Sometimes I hear someone’s story and feel a pang of jealousy that mine isn’t as cool or exciting. Then, in a moment of clarity, I realize my journey might not have the drama of another’s, but it’s uniquely mine. And invariably, there is some overlap, some point where we connect - if I’m willing to listen.

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the February 22, 2024 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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  1. Sherry's columns give me a glimpse into special moments of life at the farm. She shares her observations and life lessons learned (sometimes deeply personal experiences and lessons). The stories sometimes plug at my heart strings, but I always come away from reading her columns a little more focused on what's important in my life and so very grateful for the gifts of family and friends I've been given.

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