Walk in any day and you find a slice of life at your table

One man leavin’ his wife, another wishin’ he was able

An old man tryin’ to forget — a young one lookin’ for a label

And the stories they tell, you can’t tell if they’re true or they’re fable

Everywhere you go in the world there are stories all around you. Think about it: each person is a story. More than that — each person is a book. And each person is waiting to tell their story, as long as there is someone who really wants to listen.

Remember when you first fell in love? You stayed up all night and talked, right? What did you talk about? Your stories. You finally found somebody who really wanted to hear yours, and you, in turn, were eager to hear theirs. No hurry. We’ve got all night. (The way this relationship feels right now, we may have a lifetime!) We’re enthralled with each other. We want to hear more.

This is where it all begins. The story. Next time you’re in Johnny’s Cafe, look up from your menu and look around you. Imagine each person is a story. Aren’t you curious? Imagine being able to hear them all. Don’t you ever try to guess? I think that’s a game we’ve all played from time to time — we try to guess who someone is. We make up a story about them based on their appearance, their dress and their demeanor. It’s a fun game, but why not do one better than that; why not find out their real story?

One of the easiest things to get someone to do is to talk about their own life. Admittedly, some people are pretty private, but show some genuine interest and you’ll find out something you didn’t know.

It’s really easy. You start out with everyone’s basic opening questions like: “Where are you from?” Or “What do you do?” You can be more creative than that, but honestly, anything will work. The rest is simple. You pick one thing they said in their answer, and ask another question about that. It’s like digging for treasure. Each answer leads to another level. There should never be an end to it. Every answer has in it the seeds of the next question. How far do you want to go with this? How much time do you have?

I have never met anyone who does not want to talk about their own life, as long as someone is genuinely interested. You show that you are interested by listening hard enough to find the next question. Your next question shows you paid attention to the last answer. You’re either listening or you are waiting to talk. You can’t do both. So listen.

A story is a doorway to a relationship; a relationship is a doorway that Christ can eventually walk through. It’s that simple.


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8 Responses to Story

  1. kellief4 says:

    This has been on my heart a lot lately. Maybe it’s from going to funerals, or trying to catch up with people from my past. But I keep thinking about the very short segment of a persons’ life that you actually know about. Basically, it’s from the time you met, until the time you part (whether death or moving or just separating). We know so little about each other. How to bridge that gap is a mystery. We hardly give each other time to tell their stories. Ahhh, got lots of work to do…even with very close relatives.

  2. Dave Morgereth says:

    “We make up a story about them based on their appearance, their dress and their demeanor”

    “Laughing on the bus, playing games with the faces
    She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
    I said, be careful, his bow-tie is really a camera”
    … “we’ve all come to look for America” – Paul Simon

    • John A Fagliano says:

      I love that song. It’s about a soul who’s searching and who understands that everyone else is doing the same.

  3. Sandie says:

    I think we all can be guilty of only listening until we can open our mouths and go on about ourselves.Toby Keith’s song “It’s All About Me” comes to mind.Also an old saying, “If you think you have something to say, raise your hand…then put it over your mouth.” Good advice for me tooooo many times!

  4. Um, I was too busy playing candy crush. Would you repeat what you said?
    Oh, wait – someone is texting me.
    Okay, go ahead.
    Nope, stop! Heh, heh… a cat video.
    Alright now, where were we?
    Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
    Oops, just a moment. The final score from the game… YES!!!!
    Sorry about that. What were you saying?
    Yeah, I’m paying attention. there’s just these other things, y’know?
    Hmmm, interesting.
    Oh geez, hold that thought. My friend is calling.
    Hi. Yeah, thanks. Let me call you back. Bye.
    So, now back up a few steps and tell me again: What were we talking about?
    Dang! Won’t this phone ever shut up?!

    Say, I tell ya’ what:
    Just text or e-mail me and if I think you’re important enough to give you my full attention then I may try to respond. It depends on what may distract or sidetrack me at the moment.
    Let’s make sure to get together again, though!
    See ya’…

    • John A Fagliano says:

      I’m still waiting for the smart phone app that alerts you when it senses you’re ignoring someone next to you

  5. Alma Siemens says:

    I am inspired by the part of the Catch about Story. I’m pasting it into my journal to read many times and put into practice.

  6. Priscilla says:

    Bobnearseattle – your comment is priceless and, sadly, true.

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