My neighbor came to dinner a little while ago, and studied my china cabinet with interest. “I bet every one of those has a story,” she said- and she was right. As I looked at my glassware and china in this huge display cabinet, I realized that it was chock-full of stories. The sparkling champagne flutes from my sister-in-law for my wedding… A wonderful mother and daughter who gave their family treasure of a gilded platter to my husband and I… Cut crystal glasses from my other sister-in-law from one of her many expeditions around the world… Everything had a story.  A memory that was perfectly preserved on those shelves, just waiting to be told.

This last week, I sat down with my mother-in-law (one of the most wonderful people I know) as she pulled treasures and photos out of boxes to share with us. My girls played tea with a porcelain tea-set from her childhood, while the big girls played tea-set with a full size model and pored over photos spanning more than 70 years.

The stories swirled, sprinkled with laughter. Do you remember? echoed from every corner.

As we traveled home, I thought about stories, and why we tell them. A way to mark history, certainly, but more- a way to share our disparate histories. I’m the only one who has lived my life from the inside, but I gladly share my story in trade for a loved one’s.

How else can we know one another, unless we share our stories? Our insights? Our passions?