I have always had such an amazing time on the Spring Break trips with LCM. Getting closer to the people on the trip, having adventures, and learning valuable lessons are just a few things that happen on these trips that are meaningful to me. In Albuquerque this past Spring Break, what was the most important to me were the ample opportunities to listen to the stories of the people we met throughout the week. Mary, a woman from the Acoma Pueblo, stands out to me in particular. She invited us into her home one evening to make tamales, and she shared her history and culture through her handmade pottery and photos of her family. She was so patient and welcoming with our group as she told us about what life was like in and around the Pueblo. She told us stories of love and loss, and joy and heartbreak. As Mary talked to us, I was astonished by her openness. She invited a group of twelve strangers into her home, prepared dinner for us, and shared her history and culture with us, all without complaint or resentment. She was the epitome of what it means to be welcoming, and her kind nature was so inspiring to me. I think we are all called not only as Christians, but also as humans, to be welcoming to strangers and to be open with our stories, both good and bad. Openness is often more important than we think. Sharing our experiences with others breaks down walls much more than it builds them up, and surprisingly, your story may often be exactly what someone else needs to hear.
No two people have the same experiences, and everyone has something unique that they can share. Let’s make an effort to be more open with one another and to share our stories and experiences, not only to become closer and more compassionate, but also to raise awareness for issues of occurrences that normally wouldn’t be meaningful to us. With sharing our stories comes a need to listen to, process, and unconditionally accept the stories of others as well. Both of these skills, sharing and listening, can be hard to cultivate, but when used in the right proportions, there is no greater reward.
-Allison Cunningham, LCM Servant Leader