I meet people and I want to know all the stories that comprise them. The layers of love and heartache, trials and triumphs, pain and joy that each one of us is made of, all the little cells of story that have made us into who we are today.
I think about this often, as I walk around at work and people rush past me and I rush past them. I think about it as a young girl who has blue hair and wears a scowl slides my flour and sugar into bags at the grocery store, when I order food and a man smiles but it never reaches his hurting and empty eyes, and when the cars pass by me and I see a young couple yelling at each other faces twisted with anger.
A story calls out one from the crowd then invites us all to bend down and get to know them. Everyone has an interesting side if only we had the time to find it. There are no such thing as dull people, if only we took the time to get to know them, and they let us do it.
Oh, to be sure there are people who pretend to be boring. They hide their flaws and paste a smile on, pretending to be 'normal'. But if you could but dig a little past the surface, push past who they pretend to be into who they really are--you would be amazed, I think at what you might find and even more so how you might feel.
When you know someone's story I think judging them becomes harder and loving them becomes easier, because as Buechner said, "the story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all”. Those people we write off, cast aside, and label with words--if we could but read their story from start to finish I think we would see whispers of our own between the pages.
"WE read a good novel not in order to know more people, but in order to know fewer. Instead of the humming swarm of human beings, relatives, customers, servants, postmen, afternoon callers, tradesmen, strangers who tell us the time, strangers who remark on the weather, beggars, waiters, and telegraph-boys--instead of this bewildering human swarm which passes us every day, fiction asks us to follow one figure (say the postman) consistently through his ecstasies and agonies. That is what makes one impatient with that type of pessimistic rebel who is always complaining of the narrowness of his life and demanding a larger sphere. Life is too large for us as it is: we have all too many things to attend to. All true romance is an attempt to simplify it, to cut it down to plainer and more pictorial proportions. What dullness there is in our life arises mostly from its rapidity; people pass us too quickly to show us their interesting side. By the end of the week we have talked to a hundred bores; whereas, if we had stuck to one of them, we might have found ourselves talking to a new friend, or a humorist, or a murderer, or a man who had seen a ghost."
~G.K. Chesterton: 'The Inside of Life.'