During a flight to Florida, I sat between two women.

The one on my left was 77 years old. She and her husband were traveling from Quebec. She asked to borrow my wrap because she was cold (she also had her right arm pretty much on my lap the entire time) and she told me about her vacations.

The woman on my left was 102. (Yes, 102!) She was flying out (alone) to see her grandson. She was very hard of hearing so I helped her understand what the flight attendant was asking. I also opened her little pack of cookies, got her bag down from the overhead compartment and learned a lot about her life and family.

I heard both of their stories.

A client is in the process of “staging to sell”—getting her house ready to present it in the best possible light to prospective buyers. As we prepare for the next phase of her life, I asked her to consider what “story” she wants to tell through her next home.

Storytelling in the place you live isn’t all that different from narratives shared by folks sitting next to you on an airplane, but many people don’t have any idea where to begin. They get stuck just thinking about how to create homes (houses and homes are two very different things) that reflect who they really are—physical autobiographies.

When you walk into someone’s house for the first time, you probably discern a lot about who lives there. Homes are storytellers: calm and serene, or chaotic and disorganized; a tragedy, an adventure, or a drama; a history lesson, or a futuristic fantasy; stuck in the past, or so jumbled that its identity can’t be defined.

What story does your home tell?

On the first leg of my return trip home, I was next to a man in his twenties who was crying as he took his seat. He had driven to Florida with a friend in order to visit his eleven-year-old son. That never happened. The son’s mother refused to let him see the boy. He was frustrated, distraught and mostly in a lot of pain. We talked during the entire flight from Fort Myers to Atlanta. I could feel his distress. He shared his life openly and honestly. I mostly listened. I commented when it was right. We talked about humans and love and faith and God.

I heard his story.

The 102-year-old woman I told you about….at the end of that flight she took my hand, looked into my eyes and said, “Thank you. No one has listened to me that much in a very long time”. I left that journey with tears in my eyes.

Life gives us many opportunities to be storytellers. Life opens doors for us to be the one who hears. And sometimes that “hearing” is on flights with random strangers who really aren’t random at all, but rather spirits with flesh, just like us, who simply needed someone to listen.










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4 thoughts on “Storytelling

  1. Beautifully written and what a rich experience. You are one of the rare ones to listen to a stranger’s story. I think you were put exactly where you needed to be on those flights. God’s timing.

    Sent from my iPad



    • Thank you, Betsy. You’re right, it was a rich experience and I agree, God does put us in places we need to be—in ways that change the listener’s life too. ❤️


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