Updated: Jun 9, 2020
When we were younger and lived back home, my sister, Lindsey, and I would sit on the bed in the room we shared and stare out the window. It would be pitch black outside but we could see the headlights and taillights of cars as they passed on the interstate a little over a quarter mile away. We would take turns picking out cars and trying to guess who they were and where they were headed. We would create identities for these strangers as they passed by. We would give them names and backstories and try and figure out what their destination was.
It's probably been more than 12 years since the last time we did that, but daily I find myself doing the same thing. I see a car drive by outside my window and I can't help but to wonder what their story is. A jogger on the sidewalk. A family in the store. What are their favorite memories? Their aspirations? What are their dreams?
I do this because everybody has a story.
One of my favorite movies of all time is called "Source Code." It's a 2011 film starring Jake Gyllenhaal. There's a quote near the end of the movie where I got the name of this post. It's one of my favorite quotes of all time.
Gyllenhaal's character, Colter, is standing at the back of a train car with his girlfriend Christina (played by Michelle Monaghan). Colter bet one of the passengers, a comedian, that he couldn't make all the passengers in that particular car laugh. The man takes the bet and stands up at the front and starts telling jokes.
As everybody is laughing, Colter looks around. He tells Christina, "Look at all this." She smirks and says, "What?" He smiles and shakes his head, "All this life."
A few moments later, the scene freezes. The camera pans over everybody's faces as we see their smiles and their laughter. Frozen in time, we see a snapshot of their life.
It's one of my favorite scenes in a movie ever and probably my favorite quote ever because it so perfectly encapsulates what I'm saying here.
Everybody is in the middle of their story. If you froze time and looked around and examined those around you. And studied their faces. You'd catch them in the middle of joy or sadness. Of expectancy or anxiousness. Maybe they're thinking about their kids, their future, their past, or maybe about pizza.
Life is all around us, continuing on and moving forward. Stories are overlapping and colliding, and to ignore someone's story would be a tragedy.
When I think about my life and what has made me who I am, I think about the literal countless times something has happened that has impacted me. Think about everything you've gone through. All of your experiences. Everything that has made you who you are. It's almost endless.
Our lives are so complex, which doesn't necessarily have to mean confusing; just... important.
To acknowledge someone's story is to affirm them.
That's the point of this first post and the reason I named the blog after it. I heard once that if you looked up at the night sky through a straw, just through that little opening you'd be seeing billions of stars, planets, and galaxies. The same can be said if you lowered the view to the horizon and looked out at your city. You'd see millions of moments, frozen in time. You'd see singular, important lives as they make decisions and make memories. Look at all their stories.
Look at all this life.