SecondIron's Blog

Sharpening Iron to Live Second

How are You Going to Share Their Story?

All of us have a story to tell, some are just looking for the ears to listen. How are you going to share their Story?

How are You Going to Share Their Story? Old open book with magic light on a dark abstract background

Some of you may remember shortly after I started SecondIron’s Blog I shared a story about a gentleman I met out in the rain. This man had nothing to offer and yet I had all to gain. He was homeless and looking for company more than a handout. I told his story of how he was needing a few dollars in order to find a place out of the rain to stay. I ran into this same man yesterday.

I will call him Joe, as to not give away his real name that I now know.

I was reading the book Bridge Builders out in the hot sun on the river-walk. As I got up to move to the shade I saw a familiar face coming towards me. Not wanting interaction I turned my back and walked away. His pace was faster than mine and he caught up to and passed me by. As he did he looked at me briefly. He turned and stopped, and quietly said “have we had conversation before?” I acknowledged we had.

Noticing that he had a tool-belt around his waist and a cellphone in his hand. I commented ‘you are doing better than the last time we spoke.’ He cheerfully replied ‘yes, I guess I am.’  We talked for a few minutes as he shared how people still treated him with depravity. You see many homeless in America and around the world have jobs. People still treat them with disdain as if they have a disease or were unclean.

As we talked I shared with Joe that he was the topic of a blog post I had written. I explained how everyone, no matter what color, creed or sexuality had a story to tell. Many of these stories go unheard as there is no one to share them, or better yet no one to listen. He shared with me how he had gotten a construction job at the 220 Riverside project nearby. “I don’t know what I am doing and my hands are not made for hard labor, if you can read between the lines”, he said. I acknowledged that many times we must do the things we have to in order to get the things we want.

We continued to share our stories for just another minute or so. I noticed a small tear well up in his right eye. He told me how much it mattered to him that I remembered him. He shared his struggle as part of his story. As we departed he left to go find a place to lay his weary head. You see even though Joe has a job and is on his way to recovery. His cellphone is likely free from one of the many organizations that provide the homeless as part of a recovery process. Even with a job, that does not always pay for a roof over someone’s head. All of these things, Joe still did not let it dampen his spirit or diminish his story.

We all have our own story we are writing. When is the last time, you let someone else share their story with you? I would love to hear your story, or the stories of those that may not otherwise be told. Comment below and lets share our stories together.

About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

10 Replies

  1. WOW!! This is awesome!! I remember that post.

    So great that you saw him again and you talked.

    I’m writing my story and have come to realize I’m wanting to know many peoples stories now.

    This is a great post!!

    1. Thanks Steve, I look forward to your story each week. More people should spend time with learning other peoples’ story.

  2. the cool thing about where I work is that I get to meet hundreds and hundreds of people a year. I get to interact with them on a personal level and I get to learn about their lives, their history, their future. It’s one of the best parts about what I do.

    1. I am sure you could write another book just based on those stories David (hint).

  3. Love that Orson Wells quote!

    God bless you for taking the time to hear his story. We learn so much from each other, but by listening, we validate each other. We all need to feel valid.

    1. So true, many people have stories to tell yet no one will listen. It always amazes me in the humanity that lives on our streets that many ignore. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Love this! I had a conversation with a homeless man in So Cal a few years back, and he thanked me for ‘treating him like a human’ I was saddened that wasn’t his normal experience.
    I’ve begun telling my story in a blog as well…praying it resonates with someone…
    Keep telling your story!

    1. So many times I have heard said, ‘thank you for stopping, noticing, taking the time, etc.’ Imagine a world where the homeless were not faceless.What would happen if we all stopped and took time to care hmmm.. Thanks for reading and commenting Teri.

  5. Amanda Snodgrass

    This year I started volunteering with a program to help those in recovery from drug addiction train for a race from a 5K to a half marathon. Just listening to their stories from where they used to be to where they are now was so inspiring. They were so happy for someone to treat them like a person. Great story!

    1. That has to be an inspiring mission to work with people that are trying to change their story. It is humbling to hear the stories of those that normally would never have an opportunity to share. Great of you to volunteer with that program. Thanks for stopping by Amanda.