I work for an organization that defines itself by its stories. It is a story told in deeds over the span of time, each revealing part of the core values the group holds to be most true. As strong as the history is, I work from a region that was not historically part of the story. If feels as if their story is not our story. On one hand, I know we share the story. I also know that our part of the story is being written in the present.
As I look at the story that is unfolding, I can see that it is uniquely our own. There are elements that were born in the story of our parents. The differences come form the experiences everyone who has joined the organization brings with them.
I hope we learn from those before us. There are reasons the group embraced the values we have. Listening to their stories gives context to our own. Embedded in each great moment are the lessons learned from the mistakes of those before us. We need to listen.
It is an awareness that I would do well to extend across my life. In addition to the lessons in my history, I can learn from the stories others have told before me.
The warning stories can be found across history, starting with one called Cain. A wisdom father reminds me; “We must not be like Cain, who joined the Evil One and then killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because he was deep in the practice of evil, while the acts of his brother were righteous.” (1 John 3.12)
The stories of hope, found in every act of compassion and in moments of courage, invite us to more. Kindness often appears with one least expects it, unnoticed by all except those that it touches.
Part is living is writing a fresh chapter in our story everyday. We can embrace the best of our forefathers, benefiting from their mistakes. Whatever follows will be in our handwriting; words described though our actions.