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The Gift of Sharing

Today I am writing while hanging at the Denver airport–honestly 24 hours ago this was the LAST place I thought I would be today.  A friend of mine is moving from the west coast to the east coast and while his wife was flying with their children to their new home, he was going to be driving their 2 dogs across country.  If there is one thing I love it is a good road trip, so a few weeks ago we concocted this scheme that I would fly half way across the country (Lincoln, NE) and he would pick me up and we would continue on the journey.  It was going to be my last hurrah as a single girl, a crazy adventure like I have done a million times before (and know I will continue to do post-marriage) my warped version of a bachelorette party.  Yet here I sit in the Denver airport waiting to catch my flight back to Columbus, while my friend begins day 3 of his road trip. After a series of flight cancellations, killer storms, long lines, cranky travelers, a hotel stay and 3-4 trips through security I gave up my quest and now plan to head back home.

So this morning as I climbed into the hotel shuttle to head back to the airport, I was surprised that the first thing I did was strike up a conversation with the people in the seat next to me.  A little background I rarely strike up a conversation with strangers other than the usual banal chatter. A full  on conversation such as ‘where are you headed?’  ‘why are you here?’  Is rare for me.  I am happy to engage when someone asks me but I am not usually the instigator.  But this morning I think I have struck up 4-5 conversations with random people, because bottom line I needed to tell my story.  I needed to share my disappointment, my anger, my exhaustion with someone.  I needed someone to witness that yes, this is a bummer and wow that really sucks.

In the scheme of life, missing flights and having a vacation canceled is not that big of a trauma–especially this morning when I saw the news of all the people truly effected by the storms that canceled my flight last night with loss of homes, businesses and lives.  But to me in my life it was a disappointment.   I realized the more I shared my story and the more people that witnessed it the better I felt, the less angry I was, the less disappointed, the more perspective I gained.

This experience, reconfirmed for me the power of not only sharing our stories but truly listening when someone shares their stories to us. There is a healing that occurs when we open up and share our stories, share our tears, our frustrations, our joys and our fears.  It is when we walk around stoic and ‘brave’ that our stories get cemented, the bitterness grows the fears take over and we become paralyzed.
So today share a story you have been keeping down, pick a complete stranger or a close friend and share what’s really going on.  Maybe it is you hate your job, or you think you want to make a change but don’t know how, or you are frustrated with your boss/partner/friend/mother/father etc.  Whatever it is let it out.  And when someone on a plane, strikes up a conversation with you–take 5 minutes from your book and just listen–remind yourself we all have a story and some times it just needs to get out.

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