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The Importance of Story

24 February 2015

Sara Capen Salomons, Greater Hartford Point-In-Time coordinator with Journey Home

The importance of story is not lost on me.  I love a good story.  My connection to this world is often understood through the narrative lens.  I speak in narrative, I write in narrative, I listen for narrative all around.  And I have a core belief that hearing and understanding the stories of others has a direct connection to compassion in its varied forms.

Last night I stood in a room in the north end of Hartford with 70 other people as we prepared for the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count.  For the most part, we were all strangers.  But, something brought us all together in those moments.  Something much bigger than we may never know or understand.  Some of us may have been there because we are passionate about homelessness.  Some of us may have been there because we had a curiosity about homelessness.  Some of us may have been there because volunteerism is deeply rooted in our DNA.  I am sure that every person in that room had their own reason to be there.  And I am also sure that most of us were there because at some point, somewhere, somehow we heard a story that moved us out of our comfortable places and called us to action.

As I shared all of the hows and whys of the PIT Count with our volunteers, I continually reminded them to listen carefully to the stories that are told.  I urged them to not only rattle off a list of necessary questions to those who are experiencing homelessness, but to listen and listen deeply.  Because within these stories, it is possible to deepen our well of compassion.  And once compassion becomes a priority everything begins to shift.  Compassion can drive us to do wild and wonderful things.  And in the end, I believe that compassion will win the war against homelessness.  So, hand in hand we go, allowing compassion to lead the way.

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