Thank you everyone who came out last Thursday and supported all the folks who shared stories. Seeing a room full of strangers come together and be so generous with their laughter, patience and applause was just what I needed. And based on the feedback I got afterward it was just what a lot of other people needed too.

We had a great first-timer, Danielle, who reminded me of why I love Canadians so much. I won’t attempt to recreate her story here but I will say that if I’m ever pregnant I want to be pregnant in Canada.

Obie, who we haven’t seen in a while, showed us that there are kind people everywhere, even in the Namibian desert. Carl shared a story about what a quiet act of kindness in line at a grocery store can mean to someone on food stamps. Julie told us what it was like being abandoned on Mt Fuji by friends and then being accompanied to the top by a stranger. During her story she said there’s an unwritten rule that says you never hike faster than the slowest person in your party. I think that’s a good guideline for the rest of life too. What’s the point of getting to the top of anything if you’re alone when you arrive? One of the things I love about the stories I hear at FGS is how they resonate differently with everyone. I don’t know anything about mountain climbing but I know what it’s like to be left behind. Thank you for that story Julie.

Elliot, who has revealed so much of his life to us over the past few years, showed us how changing one word in the way you talk to yourself can change everything. He also showed us what happens when someone in your life stays by your side when everything is falling apart. Driving home after the show I thought about Elliot again and how much smaller my life would be without him. I only see him once a month at Roy Street because I live an hour away but I hope our long-distance friendship continues for many years.

Chad gave us our second hitchhiking story of the night when he told us what it’s like to thumb your way across the country as a 17-year-old without a penny in your pocket. He was our second to last teller but he had a wonderful last line. “It really was a safe, friendly world out there.” I know not all of us can say that about the world but it felt good to see Chad say it. I needed to hear that there are people in every state across the country who will make sure a 17-year-old kid has food to eat and a place to stay for a night. Not everyone gets treated that way but Chad reminded me that maybe one day we can all say it’s a safe and friendly world out there.

I’m going to try to convince our last teller to let me put his story online. Nathan closed the show with a story of a homeless woman running out in front of a semi to keep it from turning right and completely crushing the car next to it. Nathan and a friend were in that car and slowly being crushed between the semi and a utility pole. By the time Nathan crawled out of the wreckage the woman was gone. He went back to that corner many times trying to find her but never did. The most powerful acts of kindness are often the ones that come from unexpected places. Speaking for myself, those are the ones that made me change the way I saw the world. I hope Nathan knows that he wasn’t the only one in the room that night who would like to thank that woman.

Thanks to all the tellers who shared a story that night: Chad, Tracey, Julie, Obie, Rob, David, Carl, Mike, Lauren, Susan, Zoe, Elliot, Danielle, and Nathan. (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone)

Our next show is Thursday, December 8. The theme is “Permission.” We’re looking for stories about a time when you gave yourself permission to do something. Or not do something. I’ll get the official invite out as soon as I can. I hardly ever give myself permission to do anything so it might take me a while to come up with something. Maybe I’ll ask my son. He loves to remind me of all the spotty decisions I’ve made over the years 🙂

In the meantime, take care of yourselves. And take care of each other. It’s never too late to do something kind and be part of someone else’s story.

It looks like the recording turn out fine so if you told a story Thursday send me an email and I’ll get you the audio.

See you on the 8th.

Paul
freshgroundstories@gmail.com

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