As a writer, I almost always have a running dialogue in my head. I piece together scenes in my own life. I write on this blog. I hit publish. Here, and on social media, I share my stories. I give my stories a way out, so I'm not holding them all inside.
But this weekend, I said very little. Hello. Goodbye. Thank you for coming. Handshakes. Hugs. I listened, a lot.
That's because the Listen To Your Mother season is in high gear. Listen To Your Mother provides an opportunity for women and men to read their true stories about motherhood live on stage. Thirty-nine cities across the country will host their own unique LTYM shows this spring. I'm the Director and Producer of the Charleston show, which will be held on May 3, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Charleston Music Hall.
The Charleston production team (here we are!) just wrapped up auditions. For three days, we heard stories from three dozen people. Now, we're in the midst of choosing the cast.
I walked away from the auditions each day feeling heavy. Not the kind of heavy you feel when something is a burden. It was a different kind of heavy. The kind that comes from holding space for others.
When the auditions were complete, I felt the collective weight of those stories, and I'm carrying them with me this week. There's so much more to this process than choosing which stories will be shared together on stage.
The listening is important. Hearing and feeling and understanding those stories is important.
I walked away thinking about all of those people, and every single one of us. I thought about how we all walk around with big, huge, heavy stories tucked inside. We encounter so many people each day. Strangers and people we think we know.
Do we really understand where people are coming from? It's something to think about. (Tweet that)
So many of us are seeking peace, redemption, answers to questions that don't have answers. We want one more chance. We want to share what we've learned. We wonder, Did I matter to you? And we want people to know, You mattered to me.
So many of us are carrying around the weight of the past and present and future. We're all just doing our best to sort it out. (Tweet that)
We can't say to every person we encounter, "Hey. Tell me your story. I've got all day." But we can hold space. We can give people the benefit of the doubt. Give them space and grace as they work out the stories of their lives.
It's something to think about.