To be human is to tell your tale and listen to someone else’s. But it would make a difference to know that stories are stories. They are real, but not in the way we think they are when we take them too earnestly and allow them to mesmerize us. Stories are true as stories but not true as life. They require interpretation and reflection if we are to draw lessons from them. Stories teach us through their shapes, sounds, structures, and suggestions, their between-the-lines content that speaks to us through our souls rather than our minds or even our hearts.
To know that my story is not exactly mine, but is rather a wave rising up within the sea of stories, is to appreciate my story and everyone else’s in a new, wider, and more significant way. Maybe by looking at stories this way we can see them as large and mysterious. Then perhaps we won’t need to cling any longer to one particular version of our story as the only true story, the story of victimization or trivialization or despair or boredom; instead we might began to see our many stories as stories of humanness, of being-aliveness, not just our own small possessions. And then, perhaps, we can be inspired by our own stories, and begin to make use of them in a new way.