Once Upon a Time…

I’ve been doing some heavy thinking. Truthfully, it’s nothing revolutionary or new, and that seems to be par for the course in my life. Maybe it’s in keeping with Solomon’s “nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9c). This same theme in my life can also be the doorstep on which I will lay my writing season of sloth. Why write, if there’s nothing new? But, there is freshness in learning the “basics” in ways you can “own” them, right? I’ll also give fair warning: this post is less “Bible study-like” than some others I’ve written.

Enough babbling…

My thoughts have returned for months to this: the story. Some stories have whimsical beginnings, climactic middles, and triumphant endings. Some have rather slow starts, only to gain momentum like a steam locomotive ¬†at top speed devouring every trace of fuel it’s given. Some stories can be sad, even tragic, leaving the reader desperate for signs of life, laughter, or joy. We’ve all read stories (or in this advanced technological age, seen them on a screen). We’ve been drawn in, become familiar with the characters, even pulled for that underdog in the story. Stories fascinate us.

Along that line, I’ve become keenly aware that I have a story, but that’s really not the kind of shocking revelation I brought you here for. The truth is, we all have stories unique to each of us. While some stories share common elements or themes, maybe even a few common characters or character types, each story is unbelievably intricate and personal. There are parts we love and parts we desperately wish we could delete, re-write, and publish fresh and new. Secretly, some of us want parts of our story to be like the popular insurance company ads–“Like it never happened.” Wouldn’t that be great?

But, that’s not an option, really. Sure, there are things we choose not to introduce to new people we meet, so it might feel “like it never happened.” There are ways to minimize the story line over time, emphasizing highlights and keeping the lowlights in a box on a shelf somewhere. The truth is, that story did happen. Every part of it. When I tell the “good” and omit “the bad, and the ugly,” I am living in denial.

I have a story. You have a story.

What has been impressed on me lately is that a life story is a splash…with a ripple effect. Have you considered that? The kind of splash your story makes may or may not be determined, but telling it truthfully may have some considerable effect, sending ripples to places you know, at first, then to places beyond your knowledge.

So, it appears the decision we face is a bit complicated and multi-faceted.

When I tell my story, which parts will make it to the final draft, and which will be edited for content? What am I excited to share, and what am I afraid or ashamed to share? Is there a time, place, or specific audience for my story (or parts of my story)? Of course, this Christ-centered blog moment begs to ask if my story does or does not yet bring glory to the One who has ordered my steps in it.

Today I’m considering my story. Maybe you’ll consider yours.

Maybe this mental meandering on the screen needs a tighter focus. If I nut-shelled all that I was thinking for today, it would be:

  • What is my story?
  • Am I truthful about it to myself and others?
  • Which parts of my story do I edit for content and why?
  • Have I considered the splash and ripple effect of my story?
“Once upon a time there was a young girl who lived in a little, white ranch house with her family–“

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