KUHF-Houston Public Radio's "This I Believe" with Lisa Harrison

Lisa is a native Texan and for the last 20 years, has lived in Houston with her husband and three sons. The first part of her life was spent in Palacios and Rockport on the Texas coast. A few years ago, Lisa returned to the classroom, teaching English to students at Langham Creek High School. Lisa says her experience writing this essay has been a rewarding one and is one she'll share with her students.
Lisa and her husband have been married for 28 years. John works with an energy company and Lisa was a stay-at-home mom, raising their three sons. She says once the kids didn't need her being home all the time, she decided to return to work. She chose the classroom. For the last five years, Lisa has been teaching English at Langham Creek High School in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Lisa's essay was the result of a three week writing course she recently took. She says her essay went through at least a dozen edits from the first draft to the broadcast version and that process will be a wonderful experience to share with her students.

Lisa and her husband John have roots in south Texas and still own ranch land near Palacios in Matagorda County. They hope to retire there some day. That "retirement" is likely to include overseeing their budding cattle business. John and Lisa currently have a few head of "beef cattle" including some Japanese breeds. The Harrisons hope to eventually participate in the "Kobe" beef business. Lisa says her role will be record keeping and John will have to do the heavy lifting. In the mean time, their "day jobs" will keep them both busy.

Here's Lisa Harrison with her essay for KUHF's This I Believe.
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"I believe in telling stories. Not the whoppers that some people tell to impress others, but the good ones that connect us to each other.

I grew up with stories. My grandfather sat in his rocking chair every evening, and more than once told me about my great-grandmother, who lived in a one-room shack out in the country. She loved animals so much that she let her chickens come into her house. Small wonder she was divorced and lived alone. He had a brief explanation for the divorce: 'I reckon Arthur never would have quit her if she'd just kept a better house.' I thought of Granny recently as I adopted two kittens and brought them home to meet our family dogs.

Several years ago, I volunteered as a lay minister in the oncology department of a large hospital. In its cramped rooms I learned how important it was for people to share personal stories. I also learned how much I wanted to hear about what they'd done with their lives, and what had been important to them.

One elderly man talked about his service in the British army, and he described the endless marching drills as a 'nightmarish ballet.' I think of him every time I see soldiers.

A young mother told me about going to Buddhist temples when she was a girl. 'I went with my mother,' she said. 'That was for her, not for me. I don't have any faith to help me here. My tumors were the size of rice. Can you believe something that small can destroy a whole body?' I had no answer, but I could listen to the story that she needed to tell.

One day, I walked into the room of a woman I'd gotten to know rather well. 'The doctor just left,' she said. 'He told me there's nothing left to do for me, and that I need hospice. I don't even know what that is.'

I told her, 'It's like you're running a race, and you've run as hard as you can and as long as you can and as fast as you can. You can see the finish line, but you can't imagine having the strength to cross it. Then, someone lifts you up and carries you over, so you make it after all. That's hospice.'

'I think I can do that,' she said. And she did.

As I live and as I die, I want to be connected to other people. For me, that connection will always be with their story. This I believe."
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Paul Pendergraft

Artistic Advisor

Paul Pendergraft is KUHF-Houston Public Radio’s Senior Producer for News & Public Affairs...