During our first day in Sherman, Texas, while we were preparing ourselves to become team PT Trinity UMC, our house pastor asked my team what we are passionate about. Everyone answered enthusiastically, giving different answers but often a common theme ran under the things that came up—the theme of justice and wanting to better our surroundings. I went close to last, and as I listened, I noticed something that almost everyone said, even if they didn’t expand upon on it: they were passionate about getting to hear others’ stories.
When my turn to speak came, I took that idea a little further, because this is something I’ve thought about for a long time. I said I was passionate not only about hearing others’ stories but also the idea of stories, and what it is about these stories we tell that make us feel more alive and connected to each other than almost anything else.
I still don’t have the answer to that question—why the God who created us made us so connected by stories. However, after four weeks of being surrounded by ninety children at my site, I am more reminded of this fact than ever. The children I see every day have taught me that, not only do we tell stories, but we are each a story waiting to be discovered by someone who is willing to turn to the first page.
This is what I have discovered: there is so much more to this summer for both the interns and the children than just preparing and enjoying engaging activities. We share ourselves and our stories with the children and hope that perhaps they can learn from our experience. They share themselves and their stories, realizing that they still have a voice and hoping that we will be the megaphone that allows them to express it. This is the plot, this great narrative of shared stories that stirs beneath this summer.
This story of woven lives is the story that I see in the paint being splattered across the arts and crafts room, in the kids who struggle in reading even to say their ABCs, and when an entire group comes in tired from playing in recreation. This is the story I hear in late night conversations with fellow interns, in the generosity of volunteers, and even in long team meetings, all quietly whispering to me the same thing: this story matters.
Intern at Trinity UMC