Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stories are Sacred. Lend an Ear.

Have you seen the news about the children who have died in the past few days? They were bright, young…their whole lives ahead of them. And victims of bullying.

I want to write something profound and thought provoking here today. Something that will make even one reader sit up and take notice – perhaps focus some energy and thought for just a moment on bullying, teen violence, suicide, homophobia and bigotry.

But I don’t know what to say.

It is such a shameful waste. A meaningless destruction of life and hope and spirit.

But even if I don’t have profound and thought-provoking words to post here today – I still want to add my voice to the outpouring of emotion and distress that has been expressed online – and I pray, in living rooms and across dinner tables—around the world.

These children had a story. Their story was their own – and precious. We should honor them and hold their stories carefully in the palms of our hands. Wrap their stories in our hearts and talk about them with others.

Stories have power. Stories can heal. Stories can change culture, and save lives.

My dear friend and writing partner talks about the importance of changing the cultural narrative and how stories can save lives here.

Ellen posted a video about these kids and the need for compassion and a change in our culture to solve this crisis here.

And a new YouTube channel has been created by Dan Savage to provide support and a forum for the stories of LBGT youth. It’s called It Gets Better.

Please. If you know any teenagers – of any color, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation – listen to their stories. Let them know they have been heard, even when it may seem like the rest of the world is shutting them out. Help them to understand that they have a story. And it is sacred.

Hold carefully one small snippet of a kid’s story – one moment from a hard day at school or realization of difference or raw, wrenching pain from the confusion that comes with growing up…If we can provide an ear to hear the story and the heart to support the storyteller, we will change the world.