Candace Bolz – 2013-14 intern
We are grateful for Candace and her commitment to Dry Bones this year. She has now graduated and is beginning a master’s program at the University of Kansas. Candace is a hard worker, a compassionate listener, a tender-hearted servant, and a fun person to spend time with. We will miss you and we wish you all the best!
Here are some thoughts from Candace on the power of story.
by Candace Bolz
My journey with Dry Bones began as I sat under a tree with a young girl who was making a sandwich and wanting to talk. As she added all the toppings she found suitable to make the perfect sandwich, she began to tell me about her childhood. The details of her story were heartbreaking as her story was full of sexual abuse and lots of broken promises. It seemed the system had failed her as a little girl, as did almost everyone else she bumped into along her journey. As she trusted me with the graphic details of her experiences, I began to see my own childhood reflected back to me. I listened to her words and pondered all the people I felt had failed me over the years. I wondered about how life could have been so different for me and what made my life go one way and how hers had brought her to meet me under the tree that day.
As my Dry Bones adventures continued, I found myself meeting young people with similar stories. Some of the narratives were not as horrible as hers, while others had lived through things that were pure evil. With each story I was told, I listened and re-lived the details of their life story.
After months of seeing my face on the mall, I became more well-known to street kids. I was able to earn more trust and it allowed me to hear more stories. With each story there was a uniqueness in how it was told. I began to notice that it was not the people or places of the story that took center stage, but it was more about how a story was told.
There are so many ways in which street kids told me their stories. For some kids yelling at me through profanity and painful eyes was the only part of their story they thought I needed to hear. Then there were some stories thrown at me in hopes of scaring me away, because closeness often means being hurt. Others simply shared their words through a stream of tears, either due to laughter or a deep sense of sadness. Yet, no matter what words were said, how loud a voice got, or how many tears were shed, I always listened with my heart and walked away wondering, what caused their stories to be told from the streets of Denver and mine from a home in the suburbs?
I still do not have an answer to this question that satisfies my soul. In fact there are many days I still ask myself this question. I have resigned myself to the fact that this may be a question I ponder until I meet Jesus and can ask him in person. Yet, what I have learned is the importance of listening to a story and understanding we all have one. As humans we all have a great need to be heard, validated, and accepted. Some days we may need to yell our story, because of the pain or embellish the details in our story so it makes it more interesting. Other days our story can include laughter or tears, but no matter what day it is we always need to be free to tell our story without judgment or condemnation and more importantly we must always be willing to listen, validate, and accept someone else’s story.