You can’t begin to know and appreciate another person until you sit down together and talk about life and the joys and struggles we all experience. This past year has been full of stories, and each one has shown me how much we are alike and how much we can learn from one another.
I spent one morning at Dr. Bill Graber’s house on Audubon Place, which is a bit humorous since he is an avid birder. When I thought about him and the stories he shared, I realized that all of them seemed to drift back to his beautiful, late wife Laura Lee, his children, and his medical practice. We did talk about birds and his life list of over 700 different species, and he told me when he was in the second grade, the teacher divided the class according to their ability to sing. The best were redbirds, the next were bluebirds, and the kids who couldn't sing, those were the crows. We had a good laugh when he told me he was one of the crows.
I noticed the love and pride in the tales of his children and my heart was warmed with joy and sadness when we talked of Laura Lee. There was a beautiful painting of her above the sofa where we sat. I also realized that he didn’t talk about his accomplishments as much as he sang the praises of others. We spoke of Renee Kloes and her incredible piano skills and of John Wright and his meal planning talent at Kairos kitchen. Dr. Graber is a faithful Kairos kitchen helper and has cut up more onions than most people do in a lifetime. He started attending FUMC when he was eight years old and told stories of kids trying to count the pipes in the organ when things got boring.
Did you know there are three generations of Graber doctors who have provided continuous medical care for almost 100 years or that in addition to birds he also likes to identify butterflies when he goes to Mexico every year? You learn all sorts of things when you listen and sharing stories connects us and draws us closer together. The Christmas season is an excellent time to share a story with someone you see every Sunday but don't really know anything about. God made all of us different and the more we know about each other, the more love we can share, and sharing love is really what life is about.
By Michelle Holland