“It’s the human condition that keeps us apart. Everybody’s got a story that could break your heart.”
Sunday, June 21st is the first day of summer (longest day of the year), Father’s Day, and National Aboriginal Day here in Canada.
It’s funny how much has happened, in the last six months, since I wrote about the opposite to this day:
“See my eyes, don’t see what I see. Touch my tongue, don’t know what tastes good to me.”
Amanda Marshall sings, in this particular song, about our unique, human stories.
“Dig deep. Deeper than the image that you see. Lift the veil and let your true self breathe. Show the world the beauty underneath.”
I know there is a connection between these individual stories and the compassion we could all stand to give and receive.
Then there are those hard things in life that make compassion so vital, yet each time I hear about just such things I have to look harder and harder to find enough of it, but I keep on looking still.
I saw a moving and beautiful play this week:
I know the story of Anne Frank and her diary. I just recently had a chance to focus on the stories of the other people trapped with her, because they too had separate stories of their own.
Anne was a typical teenager, despite the chaos going on all around her. She did not get along with her mother, was jealous of her sister’s supposed perfection, and referred to the man she had to share a room with in the Annex as an idiot and a dolt.
This was only her side of the story.
Anne’s mother loved her two children, worried sick about them, and only wanted them to be safe.
Margot may have been more reserved and quiet than her rambunctious younger sister, but she had dreams of becoming a nurse and helping children after the war.
The man Anne was referring to had a life outside the Annex. He had a woman who loved him and whom he loved, a child, and had no family to lean on during all that time in hiding.
Anne loved her father above all others. She even had a special nickname for him and everything. She sometimes felt he sided with her mother against her, but she rarely, if ever said one bad thing about him. He was her hero.
Otto Frank was left to face the future, post war, without any one of his family left alive. He had to face the fact that his two daughters and his wife were never coming back to him and he had to figure out a way to go on without them.
He, with the help of friend Miep Gies, decided that his little girl’s story needed to be told.
I am here to make sure her story goes on being heard, but that the others affected and ultimately lost have their stories known too.
Then there’s some history of my own country and hopefully a better future. I must admit that I don’t know much about Aboriginal stories. These are people living in my own country and I know very little about their history, their heritage, and their stories.
I learned some in school, yes, but not nearly enough. I feel separate and cut off, I will say.
I am doing some research, for an upcoming Canada Day post, and I don’t like what I hear.
The facts about the residential schools must be told. It’s not just one story though, but a multitude of stories. I think it’s about time Canada heard these stories.
And then there’s the terrible shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that took place.
A twenty-one-year-old walked into an historic African-American church, sat down to join a prayer group in session, and eventually opened fire, killing nine innocent people.
I know a lot of people will be writing about this for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.
I know very little about it, even though it has been all over the news for days now:
I honestly feel numb. My brother and I both agreed on that lack of emotion.
This doesn’t mean I feel any less horrible. I just don’t know what is left to say.
I could rant about my feelings on gun control and a pervasive gun culture. I could speak about a country that is filled with stories, including those of the poor victims and their families and yes, even the shooter.
Well, I still don’t know where to start, so I will focus on the big picture.
“That ain’t the picture. It’s just a part. Everybody’s got a story that could break your heart.”
Yes, thank you Amanda.
It’s funny how life works sometimes.
I was planning this #1000Speak post about everybody’s stories, when a friend brought my attention to a TED video.
Now, I love these and I’d actually listened to this particular speaker before, but I thank my friend still. I admire her and her spirit and for thinking of me.
Both her and the Nigerian writer below:
they are both strong and intelligent women, full of passion and compassion. Both their stories make them who they are.
“Patronizing, well-meaning pity.”
The above TED speaker sums it up nicely, exactly what happens when we jump to conclusions about people, without first looking at who they truly are, in all their glory and depth. Is the story we’ve been told about something really the right story?
I too have a story:
**It’s made up of the wonderful family I have and the happy childhood I experienced.
**It’s made up of the challenging and character-building experiences living with blindness all my life instills in me.
**It’s made up of the additional medical issues I’ve had and the barriers that were put in my path as a result.
A balance of stories.”
I know we all have our perceptions and our realities. We all make our minds up, when we hear someone’s story.
People meet me, see that I am blind, and right away they may think they can paint a picture of what my story must look like.
Chimamanda says it best: stereotypes are not untrue, but incomplete….
Stereotypes about blindness are deeply ingrained in people’s consciousness. I have felt pity and longed for more, for compassion, understanding, and connection in pity’s place.
I don’t know enough about all those who lived and died in war, those I share Canada with, the victims and perpetrators of gun violence, or what life’s really like on the African continent.
I say I have become numb to tragedy and senseless violence, but I realize that is not at all what I want for myself, or for any of us.
“Stories matter. Many stories matter.”
I want to be passionate and compassionate. I listen to passionate speakers like this and I want to be passionate about things like literature, writing, and social issues.
I want to tell my story and to tell the stories of many other people. That is why I love this blog and I love writing. I can tell stories, not one single story, but every story I can possibly tell.
Adichie says about stories: they can empower and humanize. Break or repair that broken dignity.
I am glad to take part in
Check them out on:
and there you can use #1000Speak to share the compassion.