What is your story?

Jean Vanier

Instead of asking my friends “how are you?”, I ask them “tell me a story.” This way, it eliminates a simple response of “fine” and starts hopefully a better conversation.

This is Jean Vanier, a Canadian, founder of L’Arche, home for people with intellectual disability. He opened his home in France and started taking care of two individuals. Now, L’Arche became international dedicating what Jean started in 1964. He turned 90 last year.

Jean’s life work has been to teach us about the importance of listening… to ourselves, others, to the suffering around us, and to God.

Here’s what Nathan Ball of L’Arche USA thoughts on listening.

How do we connect with someone, develop quality relationships, express genuine love, or show a person that we truly value them? We listen to their story. Our deepest human need is not for people to fix our problems, but to listen to us.

We hurt and get angry when we are not listened to. “Would you please just stop talking and listen to me?”

Want to give someone a gift? Simply take the time to listen. Over coffee or on a walk. On the phone or through a video call. Tell your friend, significant other, child, co-worker, or neighbor that you’d like to listen. “What’s going on inside of you these days?” “What’s hard?” “Where do you experience gratitude?”

Turn off your phone and open your heart. Invite someone to tell you a little of their story, from long ago, or today, or their dream for tomorrow. It matters!

Have a blessed day.

18 thoughts on “What is your story?

  1. Well that should have been obvious I suppose. Not a common name here in Australia but lovely.

    Speaking of stories I had never read about St. Perpetua until today, thank you.

  2. Hello again ☺. As we spoke about elsewhere I love this post too.

    I’m guilty of this (not listening). Sometimes we are in so desperate to be heard and acknowledged that listening is forgotten.

    Sad really because there isn’t any rush. Why does it feel like there is?

    Today I will stop for a moment and admit I don’t even know your name. Rude. It doesn’t sit well with me. Time to take a moment to find the ‘about’ page.

    Lovely to ‘meet’ you. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and consider others.


    • Hello Nat. Thank you for ‘listening’ to my comment at your site, reading my post and taking the time in providing your reflective comment.
      I understand about we want to be heard and be in a rush.
      As for my name, I’m Perpetua.

  3. A fantastic reminder. Instead of telling about me, I like to ask my freinds and colleagues about themselves. I good way to connect to society and it’s people.

  4. Listening, something we don’t do enough of. I am as guilty as most. You will have to tell me your story Perpetua, the little I have seen of your life so far does make me wonder who you are and what drives you. I think a coffee is going to be hard though.

Please share your reflection. Thank you.

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