I read this article written about former President Obama; how he read 10 letters from the American people every day he was in office. Interns were used to cull through the letters (wow! what a job that must have been) and given a generalized criteria they selected 10 letters for the President to read.
I read the article filtered through my love of everything story - and not politics. I loved reading how important and compelling stories are to people and the difference each person's 'sacred story' can make. The following beautiful quote by former President Obama highlights how reading the stories of others can impact the heart of [even] the leader of the free world.
"“I learned in that process that if you listen hard enough, everybody’s got a sacred story,” he said. “An organizing story, of who they are and what their place in the world is. And they’re willing to share it with you if they feel as if you actually care about it. And that ends up being the glue around which relationships are formed, and trust is formed, and communities are formed. And ultimately – my theory was, at least – that’s the glue around which democracies work.” - The Guardian, Jeanne Marie Laskas, (August 18, 2018).
Words matter. Stories matter. I loved reading how the stories of the people 'sustained him' and that my own stories might be life-sustaining, too. Not in the sense that my story sustains my life but that my stories sustain, they grab hold, infused with life, as if when read, they are being read seen through my eyes and as if the reader understands.
Obama isn't the first president to have read letters from the American people, nor to write letters, and he won't be the last. That any president tries to, purposefully, understand the heart of America, is something to be applauded. I give him great credit for having done so.