My wonderful friend, Anthea, has an extensive collection of jugs with faces on like the one photographed. I’m sure there is a proper name for them but at this moment it eludes me! I really do not like these jugs at all! I find them a bit creepy and not an aesthetically pleasing interior design feature!
One evening Anthea, fully aware that I do not like them, and I were talking about the jugs.
As we talked she began to tell me the story behind the jugs. How the collecting started… Where she was when her and her husband bought a certain one. She knew their names. She knew their significance. She knew their history. Their geography. She knew their story.
As I heard their and her story my attitude changed. The jugs took on a new significance. I began to understand their importance to my friend. Importance to her meant importance to me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘stories’. Lots of life seems to be about people’s stories. Creativity through music, art, craft, dance, whatever medium- seems to be about telling a story but not necessarily with words. We all have a story. I have a story. Most times I am not willing to share my story- and telling our story can be a risky venture… But there is something very powerful about the shared story, being heard, being understood.
I realise that I really like listening to people’s stories. A previous Vicar of mine, would always comment to others that Hepzibah had the gift of listening. I loved that. I have some other more obvious giftings but he always saw that I could listen. That was and is precious to me. I’m not so accomplished at letting others hear me- but that can develop.
When I lived in South London I often walked through LCC housing estates, those massive blocks of flats holding hundreds of families. I was always struck by the quietness of the estate but also the stories behind the closed doors. We never fully know what goes on behind doors for people, but I find it exciting being available to hear those stories.
I am never going to really love Anthea’s jugs necessarily- but I certainly appreciate their story now I’ve heard it. Our story is a powerful thing.
Thanks for listening.