Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

The World Has Enough Opinions, It Needs Our Stories

I sat across from an old friend in his basement office, with my clothes unwashed and my hair dreading on its own. Months earlier I had chosen homelessness. I felt alone and unlovable, depressed and disgraceful. My friend told me about a dark time in his own life, when he couldn't will himself to leave home. He told me about how he grew so depressed and anxious and despairing that he couldn't go out to buy toilet paper and began using dirty articles of clothing to wipe himself. And in this story I found a friend who, although the circumstances where different from my own, could relate to my pain. This friend asked me that day not to become a tragedy. And those words have followed me for more than a decade.

By sharing his story my friend was able to reach through my wounds and connect with me. By sharing not what he knew, but where he'd been, he was able to walk alongside me.

The world does not need my opinion. There are plenty of talking heads filling the air with their divisive noise and polarizing opinions. What the world needs is my story, and yours. Our experiences of pain and hope, fear and truth, love, life, and freedom .

I'm preaching to myself here, folks.  I am opinionated, bossy. I draft snarky rants about world events and get wrapped up in go-nowhere social media arguments.  And every time I tell someone what to think I end up regretting it.  Every. Damn. Time.

But when I share a piece of myself, open up my life's story to glean the truth and meaning and hope found inside? When I step out in courage to forget what I know and instead share who I am? I am never left regretting that.

We've all had instances where stories have changed us when opinions never could. Our opinions on parenting crumbled when faced with the real life joy and fear and pain of shepherding a little soul.  Or our opinions on a political issue was softened or strengthened when we looked into the eyes of the people affected by the policies and platforms.

Without our experiences, our struggles and fears and hopes and triumphs, our opinions only ever hurt and divide. But our stories unite us, they reveal what is common and true about the human spirit. Our stories draw us together in ways that opinions never can.

"What we have in common isn't an idea but stories.  And I cannot tell my story well unless I also hear your story."  -Jean Vanier


  1. How very true. So nice to see you writing again.

  2. Thank you for this. I just love your writing.