WE all have a story. Our book of life contains chapters of joy, pain, struggle, failure, illness, betrayal and a million other emotions that make up the great tapestry of our messy lives.

Friends, your story belongs to you.
You get to choose what to share.
You get to choose what to hold close to your heart.
We all have different stories. My story is different from yours, and your story is different from mine. When anyone makes a courageous decision to share a snippet of their story, it is important that we don’t dismiss, add, diminish, criticise, compare, or ridicule, but rather choose to simply listen.
We all know what it is to engage in a conversation, only to quickly discover that the person you are talking to is not fully engaged or truly listening. I don’t know about you, but I simply shut down. The story of Belfast (and Ireland) is made up of the story of us: you and me. I believe the greatest peacemakers are those who choose to “lead with their ears” (James 1:19). We don’t need to always have the answers. We don’t need to always feel the need to respond, but rather choose to simply listen.
Perhaps, if we offered the gift of listening (and I mean truly listening) we could really begin to respect each other and walk the path of healing, reconciliation and peace. Yes, I am fascinated by stories, maybe that’s because one day, our story will be our legacy. We all have chapters that we wish we could rip out and rewrite, but remember, as another page is turned and another day begins, we have the opportunity for a new beginning. Embrace each day, let’s learn to listen and respect each other’s stories. Take a deep breath and start again.