This I Believe

Rachel - Santa Rosa, California
Entered on April 7, 2007

I believe in people’s right to state their life, their customs, their celebrations and sorrows, their right to be listened to. I used to watch Sherlock Holmes on the A&E channel. Right after it was Biography, “where every life has a story.” It struck me as odd that the only lives to have stories belonged to famous and or dead famous people. What about the stories belonging to the homeless, to people with long standing cultural traditions, what about the silk and cashmere stories making up the everyday life for the most ordinary of people?

Every life has a story, this I believe and celebrate. I love being a victim of ear borrowers, you’ve met them they’re the ones standing on street corners or following you into subways. At least, that is where I tend to find them. For years complete strangers have walked up to me and begun to talk to me. They’re harmless folk who can identify somebody to talk to from a mile away. I’m a compulsive ear lender, one who moonlights as an ear borrower.

My life has taught me to be that way. My dad talks to me a lot more now than he used to. Now, he’s always looking for the next new idea for me to pilot. He’s got a lot of ambition and needs somebody to run with it. My mom is beautiful, heart and soul. She’s got a lot of stories, some she doesn’t tell. My folks grew up with hard lives. I grew up eavesdropping, best way I had of finding things out.

My habit of wanting to listen remains. I have mutually adopted family on a Reservation in South Dakota. I’ve heard stories, legends, and accounts of tumultuous historic events. Those telling their stories light up from knowing somebody is basking in the landscapes being created. Their amazing, powerful, and passionate stories need more ears to soak into. Who’ll be their audience, who’ll be there to keep the stories going?

I believe there need to be more ears to listen to the wealth of stories out there. Countless people are waiting for that one lucky passerby. Waiting for the one who will become captive audience for whatever amount of time is needed. There are some out there with so many stories held inside them, they may not know it, but secretly they’re waiting to let those tales rise up out them and thrive.

If you are an ear lender, go ye forth and find an ear borrower! Got a story? Ear borrow away. I believe in people’s right to state their life, their customs, their celebrations and sorrows, their right to be listened to. Every life does have a story, I believe in those stories being told, listened to, and passed on. “What has no arms, no legs, but can jump tall buildings and travel over great distances?” That was the one dollar riddle told me by a good friend. The answer, a voice.