Why do we come here, why do we stay

On February 1, we hosted our first storytelling of the year. We again had a great response, in person and on the Pathfinder website. Our next storytelling will be on April 12, at 7:00 at the Seeley Lake Community Foundation Building. Our storytellers will be Vicki Voegelin, Tim Tanberg, Sally Johnson, Gene Schade and Shawn Holmes.

It is so great to hear how each storyteller’s journey enlightens us to what makes this valley so special. From the cold and snow of winter, (this one has been a doozy) to the trees and plants coming to life in the spring, to the beautiful summers and finally the gorgeous colors of the fall. This is where we all want to be. For each of us it is a little bit different, but for over a year and a half we have heard repeatedly, “it is the people and the place”.

For both of those overarching values, our friends, and neighbors in their stories, speak of their many components. Maybe it’s the friendly, compassionate, and caring nature of the people. Maybe it’s the beauty, recreation, spirituality, or preservation of the place. Some of our values may be different from each other, but many are exactly the same, simply seen through a different set of eyes, a different background, or a different perspective. When we look at it that way, we see that many of our underlying values are common among us, we just haven’t taken the time or had the inclination to sit down and truly listen to each other. We believe our storytelling is a starting place to listen, learn and appreciate all that we have in common.

If we are willing to listen, truly listen, and if, like us, you want to see the community more fully come together in our shared values, to continue to enjoy our special people and place, and maybe to jointly have shared community goals, we hope to continue our storytelling, but also hoping to take a next step. We are envisioning the gathering of small discussion groups where the primary purpose is to listen but to also discuss respectfully. “Kitchen table” conversations where, for example, we recognize that each of us have a perspective of “why” something is important to us. By truly listening we learn to understand “why” and ‘how” that importance, may be perceived differently by our neighbor. An aha moment, I never thought of it that way.

Remember, our discussions will only be about what makes the people of this valley and this place so special, and how as a “community” we can make it even better. We will have ground rules for these discussions, and I invite anyone that reads this article, if they would like to participate, to email me with questions or thoughts. Let’s all be a part of really making this community special.

Tom Beers



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