Too often, we get caught up in our own lives and we forget that there are in fact others around us. The day before I left the normal and what could be a routine lifestyle in Michigan, I had the opportunity to hang out with my best friend, Hannah. Because we wanted to take hold of all the precious time we could in the short amount we had together, we got together as early as possible so as not to waste any daylight. Living near a small city of not even 15,000 people, there is only so much one can do for entertainment so we decided to head downtown. We found that as often as we had been to that area, there were some areas we had never visited. Off we went into the unknown strips of beautiful Traverse City, Michigan.
We walked aimlessly through different art shops, gazing at the artistic-portrayed life the artist interpreted through the eyes of their own creativity and walked through a small bookstore someone had started through their passion for the art of imagination. After spending almost an hour in the small shops, we came across a seemingly medium sized store. We crossed the street and entered into the place we would stay for the next 2 hours. Before our entrance, we had no idea what to expect of this store except maybe the sight of an interestingly age-worn piece of furniture with a certain significance of the past. What we came to discover was the largest collection of aged items full of history, mystery, and fantasy that we had ever seen. Everywhere we looked, we saw fantastic artifacts of someone else’s history, someone else’s life, all cluttered around the ever going building.
Each step we took took us to more and more pieces of history. As we walked passed the mountainous piles of unwanted treasure, I couldn’t help but think of those people that previously owned these items around me. They all went through bad times and good times, trials and sufferings. Everything in that store had had an owner and every owner had a fascinating story. The leather basketball placed next to the 1920’s baseball mitt belonged to someone that bought it with their own money, played with it, and treasured it. Perhaps that ball was their favorite plaything or only plaything. Maybe the owner used basketball as an escape from the troubles and trials they happened upon in their life. The Civil War rifles there were held by someone in the war. Someone who had a family they left behind for the war. Someone who may have had their own issues with the war. Someone whose family thought about this person everyday while they were on the battlefield. These guns were someone’s protection and one of the most, if not the most, important things he could carry to the battlefield. The canteens placed next to the guns held a certain significance to me, just because it was used in a significant part of our nation’s history. As an American history buff, that sort of thing is incredibly awesome to me!
Just as the owners of the gun and basketball have an untold story, so do the people we encounter in our daily lives. As the warm sunshine hit my face, I left the store with a new look at life and the people and objects around me. The city of Traverse City held a new sense of awe. I still had the view I had adapted in the store of everything having some sort of story. I began taking a look at the buildings on the streets and wondering what they had held back when they were first built and what sort of story they held in their mysterious brick walls. My new curious mindset took me from the buildings to the people on the street, the strangers walking by me.
What were their stories? What kind of history did they hold beneath the skin? What were their struggles? It hit me that as human beings we each have a story. The person next to you has struggles, and the person behind has an even different set of mistakes, struggles, and pains. What is their story?