A few weekends ago, I had the chance to spend a couple of hours in the car with our oldest son. He’s almost 17. As we talked about different jobs my husband had before he was a stay-at-home-dad, I realized there is a lot he doesn’t know about either of us. We kind of assume that he knows what we were like before he arrived, but how could he? He didn’t realize it was 7 years after we were married before we had him. He didn’t know what activities I was involved with in high school. He thought it was strange that I was in everything except a major sport. He didn’t know much about his dad being born overseas or living in Idaho. He doesn’t know much about my trip to Israel when I was in high school.
There was a whole different “me” before my kids arrived. Some stories are ones I’m not proud to share, but they did shape me into who I am today. Even the boys’ younger years are ones they don’t remember, so they need to be told what happened. When we moved here, there was a whole different “me” in ND than I am here. Sure, basic parts are the same, but many people don’t know my story. My coworkers had experiences before I arrived that I’m not aware of also.
It was a good reminder – we often assume people know our whole story, even though they are just walking in on a chapter. The people who walk in on a chapter often fill in the pages with assumptions. That’s what we do in the store when we assume someone’s story based on their looks. It’s what we do when we assume the naughty kids just lack discipline instead of knowing their home life story. I’ve written before about assuming. However, without knowing the whole story, that’s what we naturally do. When my kids just say their day was “good”… I don’t know the whole story, so I assume based on how they act or what other things they say.
As we approach the holiday season, I encourage you to get to know someone’s story. Find out some of their “me before you”… or share some of your story with someone else. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Check back with me next week when I share my birthday “acts of kindness” list. Hopefully it will inspire someone to do even one thing from the list.