When I was 14 years old Aunt Hazel came to live with us. She was 96 years old then and had outlived 3 husbands. She never had any children of her own. Dad used to take her out for lunch every Thursday. When she landed in the nursing home because she had broken her hip, my parents felt the tug to have her come live with us. They made a room for her that was attached to theirs.
She died just before her 100th birthday.
I remember sitting on her bed quite often. In there, we’d visit like friends would. She loved telling me stories about her childhood and I loved listening to them too. I could almost envision the things she would talk about. Horses and buggies and her sister Violet. The time she set the barn on fire or when her first husband fell and became paralyzed just after returning home from their honeymoon trip.
You see her stories helped me to understand her. It connected the pieces for me and gave me a glimpse into what life was like for her. As the years went on, she began to repeat herself but I didn’t mind. She became part of our family and was a pivotal person in my life during some important years. When I was upset with anyone, she ALWAYS took my side, whether I was right or not.
I know that one day I will see her again and I can’t wait to visit with her so I can hear about all that she has witnessed already in heaven. Certainly she has spent time with my young brother Joshua like she promised us she would.
Looking back now, I see where my itch to “hear stories” came from. Just a few years after Aunt Hazel died, I began to work in a nursing home for several years. Once again, listening to stories from ones who could remember to tell. I loved them all.
When God began to stir my heart to share my story, it was very much intertwined with wanting to hear other ones too.
I’m always amazed when someone says “I don’t have a story”. It’s just not true. We all do and by not sharing it, you may prevent someone else from receiving the gift of what hearing it could create.