Becoming a “story collector”

This essay is a powerful illustration of what is possible when we allow ourselves to live in wonder and curiosity, to approach other stories with an open mind, and to hold our own stories with a degree of humility that makes learning possible.

I’m making it a practice to collect stories from my more conservative friends and to share with them my own. These narratives mutually humanize our concerns, fears, and social-political priorities. Today, when I question my loved ones about how they interpret the news, I do so not to entrap them or prove them wrong, but instead to learn how their stories and experiences have shaped their worldviews. Similarly, they ask me about my stories—and certainly, I have stories to share that are just as critical for them to hear.  I’ve found that the act of relaying my ideas and narratives in person, rather than via social media links, has even encouraged me to moderate some of my own positions.