Sunday, June 7, 2015

Could It Be That Telling (and Listening to) Stories Can Redeem The World?

The Talmud, the authoritative body of Jewish tradition, tells us that “to redeem one life is to redeem the world.”

I have come to believe the merit of this ancient wisdom. But I have to ask myself who it is that does the redeeming of who in this adage brought forth from olden times? And how exactly does "redeeming"actually occur?

These questions burgeoned forth out of my mind today as I pondered the effect New Horizons’ Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations project has made on, at least, one woman, an officer of our local police force.

Her responses to my inquiring how our Coffee House Conversations have affected her helped me see the impact our efforts are making, especially the storytelling facet of our programs.

Even in my role as “chief cook and bottle washer” of the project, I certainly am not the one to have “redeemed” this one life.  Only a Supreme Being is equipped for that assignment!

But how about the notion that if one police officer’s humanity can be replenished by the simple act of listening to and sharing stories, we might also then be able to find ways in which we might just save a kid or two by doing the same; listening to and telling stories?

Is it safe to hope that we can take that mark of progress in one woman a step farther, stretching the effort to help bridge the separation where it is most pointed these days; the angst between “kids and kops.”  I certainly want this to be so!

From a personal interview I had with this one police officer, I found evidence that change is occurring as a direct result of New Horizons’ Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations, especially from the storytelling facet of the program.  

I have recently “felt” that something positive was happening from our efforts. But having it verified and spelled out; the “what” and the”how,” now that is something!

So I learned that we are making a difference in our local community. This may only be a small step forward on a very long journey. But it is a step, no less.

Hear the back story I heard that represents the “storytelling” I am excited about on the podcast of this week’s –

Listen to an inspiring story about what has happened with only one police officer opening up to new ways of seeing, hearing, speaking and being.

Imagine what it could be like if hundreds more, even thousands would do the same!

Imagine how our world could change!

Imagine, too, such efforts helping to inspire and empower our youth to meet our police officers on some kind of common ground of cooperation!

Oh my! Oh my!

Let it be!

This is our hope for our forthcoming…

Thoughts to remind us to keep reaching for the best we can do and be –
  • “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And moves forward one small step at a time.
  • “An enemy is someone whose story we have not yet heard.”

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