By Kerri Lowe and Melisa Singh
“Everyone has a story to tell.” That’s the idea behind Melisa Singh and Kerri Lowe’s site, StoryShelter.com, where normal people from all walks of life get to share their stories.
We learn a lot from the stories of others. When we read someone else’s story, we get a perspective that we can’t often get from our own life. What’s the benefit? Understanding, compassion, and acceptance. That’s why I love reading memoirs, and why I enjoyed reading I Am Here.
I Am Here is a collection of “everyone’s” stories. There are stories of obstacles, abuse, tragedy, and shame:
“I duck my head slightly as I swipe my food stamp card. I would have driven to a store a little further away, less chance of seeing someone we know, but I couldn’t spare the gas.”
But these are met with determination and resolve, and each inspires us to live better, to be better. The most common themes are perseverance, compassion, grace, and gratitude:
“Gratitude would soon become the lifelong song of my days. This is how it began. In time, I would come to see even the loss of my daughter as a gift.”
There are also more light-hearted stories; what might happen, for instance, when you take a night-time run on the beach, naked, and can’t remember which of the many identical houses that you’re staying in. Or:
“I remember looking at the half moon-shape indentions in my hand and realizing that the only way you get wounds like that is if the horse literally tries to eat your entire hand. And that’s how I learned why you only feed a horse half a slice of cantaloupe.”
This collection is well-written and well-edited. The selections are great; each one has something to offer. While I may not share the views of all the contributors, I appreciate what they all have to say. And that’s the beauty of the book—we have the chance to hear, and learn from, people other than ourselves and those within our circle.
The writers give us small glimpses into their lives, remembering things that were most important to them, helping us to realize what’s most important to us. We’re encouraged to “fill our days with everything that’s important – and spend less and less time doing what is not.” And that makes I Am Here a book worth reading.