One of the most important goals of a parish is to form community. We want community for the relationships, for the friendships, the common goals, the shared purpose. We want to feel included, known, and loved. We want to accomplish things that we can only do together, with friends.
How do we become friends? How do we get to know another person? It takes time. It takes shared experience. It takes knowing each other’s stories. The act of sharing our stories, both in the telling and in the listening, builds the bonds of friendship that allow us to be a community, a parish, and ultimately, the body of Christ in the world.
We love stories, but do we know how to share our stories? Sharing involves both telling our own stories and really hearing someone else’s stories. When I talk about this, I often hear people express reluctance, “I don’t know if I could tell someone my stories.” But the truth is, story sharing is as natural as hanging out with a friend, telling them about our weekend, or the book we just read.
And hearing another person’s story is a gift, both in the hearing and in the sharing. Don’t you love to hear a story? Don’t you love to have someone listen attentively when you speak? That’s what story sharing is about.