I forget so often that everyone has a story. With every life a story is being written. I get so caught up living mine that I forget that everyone else is living their own. Everyone has a plot line with twists and surprises – romance, comedy, tragedy, drama…

My time at the orphanage has been really different this trip. I’ve had the luxury of boredom on this trip (not something that you usually get on your average 5 day mission trip). In my down time I’ve been able to have some great conversations with some of the kids and staff here. It’s hard to have quality time without quantity. It’s been nice to stand beside the kids and wash dishes or to just sit on the couch and talk.

I’ve had the opportunity to hear so many stories. I wish I could write them all down. So many beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful, hilarious tales. I’ve laughed and cried many times just listening this past week.

The stories here are especially complex. I’ve heard tales, even just today, of extreme bravery and heroism in the midst of catastrophe; stories of the tragedy of losing parents to sickness and decease; stories of hilarious plot twists… I will never forget some of the stories I heard over the past couple weeks.

And you know what’s crazy…? I almost missed them all. I almost walked away, didn’t make the time, or didn’t ask the vulnerable question. And I would missed out. I mean really missed out.

I’m good at living out and talking about my story. I’m not so good at asking the right questions and really listening to other’s stories. And because I don’t care enough to ask or spend the time investing, I miss out. I’m sure there have been so many moments lost to distractions or rushing to get things crossed of a list.

But there is so much to be gained by the experiences and reflections of others. My hope for you and I is that we make the time to both discover the stories being written around us and that we find a way to make them a little sweeter.