One of the most helpful tools I’ve had over the past month is curiosity. I know that it can be off-putting to say “why” all the time, but even if I don’t say “why” I’m still in the position of: what can I learn? What can I discover? What is the story that is hiding in this exchange? What is the true thing that is yet to be found here in this conversation?
I know that I am smart. That I have had a whole lot of education and reading and learning and that I am fairly good at teaching and preaching and facilitation. And I also know that I do not know the details of this community.
I’m working on it. I’m spending a lot of time in conversation. Curiosity is the position from which I am aiming to have all of my conversations.
People really are interesting. Like. Really. And I’ve spent so much time in the recent past not being able to talk to new people. Or really any people. And so I’m getting a lot of people time in.
It’s making this introvert learn some new limits. And finding new places for spending spoons. And dropping things that were spending ones that I didn’t realize I had to spare.
But in this all, I’m staying curious.
I mean, sure, soon I’m going to have to jump off the deep end of creating a project and writing seventy pages of theological ground work. (Maybe eighty, I’m not sure).
One of the things that I find really curious about being this kind of curious—is that the way that someone tells you a story—tells you nearly as much about the storyteller as it does about the story.
I’ve got a story I’ve heard seven times, and I have heard at least seven different versions of it. Sometimes even the same narrator will have a different narrative the next time around.
I’d have missed it if I wasn’t so curious.
I’m working at braiding all these stories together, so that I can see the picture as widely as possible. Of course, my own perspective will also have a bearing on how I hear and interpret the story, but that is one of the great things about being a storyteller… I get to tell the story anew, a new way, and shape the telling of it the next time around.
And even then, I need to remember to be curious to hearing the way that the listener reflects the story back to me, so that I can keep learning.