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The wealth in our stories

The wealth in our stories

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There is a vast amount of wealth in our stories, not least because simply telling your story can have an impact on the lives of others.

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The narrator observes different groups of people sitting at a coffee shop in York and wonders about their stories. They notice two middle-aged men having a heated discussion, a couple with two teenage boys and another companion, and a couple who seem to have friction between them. They also mention a lady who works at the coffee shop and runs a yoga and manicurist business, sharing her story about raising her three children. The narrator reflects on the wealth of stories around them and how listening to others' stories can make an impact and encourage connections. Hello, Jeremy Dieter, and welcome to the Insight Post for the 31st of May 2023, The Wealth in Our Stories. There were 10 or 11 groups of people sitting at tables on the pavement, all customers of a coffee shop in York where I sat waiting to meet my wife after her dental appointment. With time on my hands, I wondered about those sitting there in the warm May sunshine. No one seemed conventional or ordinary, and I'm sure everyone had a fantastic story to tell. I wondered, with genuine curiosity, what their stories were and what I could have learnt from them. Everyone has a story. Two middle-aged men were discussing something heatedly, I'm not sure what. Were they friends, lovers, business partners, or even academics from York University? Another couple took a table with two teenage boys and a companion in her mid-twenties. The boys were too old to be the couple's children, and anyway, their dress, department and attitude, respectful but wary, suggested they were not part of the family. But again, I wondered about their story. Were the couple looking after two overseas students or young people in care? The couple sitting at the adjacent table were so unlike each other, they could have come from opposite ends of the earth, and there appeared to be some friction between them. I have no idea why they ended up sitting at a table on a pavement in York at midday on a Wednesday morning, but their story must have been worth listening to. And I wondered at the couple sitting behind me, who made no effort whatsoever to move their chairs or make room for Clang to sit down when she arrived. The wealth in our stories can make an impact. I could not help but reflect on the wealth of stories surrounding me and how much I could have learnt from other people, their lives and their homes, such as the story of the lady who looked after us. She told us she loved working at the coffee shop, and indeed she and her fellow staff members were all happy and helpful. She told us how she also ran a yoga and manicurist business. And then she told us about her three children. The youngest was twelve and she devoted the rest of her time to nurturing, supporting and protecting him. She dreaded the day he would leave home because she would miss him desperately and be out of a job. Her story told us that the cafe was a great workplace to explain the excellent food and great service, encouraging us to return. Had we lived in York, we would probably have asked for her business contact details and joined her yoga classes. And her story of bringing up three children reassured me that emptiness syndrome is a challenge for which people need help. There is a vast amount of wealth in our stories, not least because simply telling your story can have an impact on the lives of others.

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