I’m fairly sure going on a trip across the United States with 10 other people I hardly know FOR AN ENTIRE WEEK breaks every stranger danger rule my mom has ever set for me, but here we are. (Sorry, mom, you tried.) Anyways, if it isn’t already obvious because I’m writing this, I’ve made it to the end of the week alive and well.
If you’ve been tuning in to our Bear Breaks Colorado blog posts, you’ve probably gathered we’ve been volunteering with Children’s Hospital Colorado and, tonight, Denver Rescue Mission. We’ve also been casually exploring some of the most beautiful sites in the state, but I’m not trying to focus on that right now. Let’s go back to serving. Can I tell you about something that has completely changed my perspective? (I’m going to assume “yes” because why else would you still be reading??)
Over the course of this school year, I’ve learned that children speak through play. Sometimes children just don’t know how to verbally express how they’re feeling or it’s just too uncomfortable and that’s okay. Instead, they turn to the thing they are most familiar with- toys and make believe. This was very apparent when we served in the Creative Play Center in the hospital. It was remarkable how much a child could say without really saying anything at all. They were just kids being kids expressing themselves so naturally.
I’ve been wondering why we adults fail to express ourselves so freely. But then it hit me, we DO express ourselves. People are sharing their stories wordlessly every day and they demand to be heard. We just need to tune in.
In searching for these stories, we have to remember people are far more than just their circumstance. People are people first. “Homeless people” are people experiencing homelessness. They are people first. “Sick children” are children experiencing illness. They are children first.
I think it’s so important to remember that our circumstances don’t tell our stories, we do. Our neighbor’s circumstances don’t tell their stories, they do.