Authoring the Autobiography

I’ve come back to reflect a bit more. If you’ve been reading along, you know I’ve been thinking about the life story each of us has, the potential splash and ripple, and its main character. The facet that catches my eye at the moment is the storyline itself. The long, very-everyday-ness of it all; the twists and turns of a long string of events; the predictabilities, possibilities, and complete surprises; the highs, lows, and everything between–it all blends to create a unique personal biography. Aren’t we all just so wonderfully different, and haven’t we all been to countless places and attended events specific to fewer people on this big, blue, spinning, marble…or even us alone? 

Our storyline (the plot of it all) is comprised of the long string of events. Fascinating, rather dull, joy-filled, very sad, or painful. The events can be those things which fall in the category of “Due to Difficulties Beyond Our Control.” They can be things which have fallen into our plot at the hands of another’s decision (the things done to us or the allowed via the permissive will of God). Sometimes it’s very difficult to tell which things He has chosen for us, and which ones He has allowed, though they break His heart. Still, this is the part of the story we often don’t write, but is somehow written for us. Maybe that’s a post for another day. This post really wants to be about the part of the story we do seem to write, if you don’t mind.

“In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

~T.S. Eliot

I love that quote right there. This is the minute, the sixty seconds, upon which every twist or turn of our self-written portion of the storyline hinges! When we are acting as the author of our story, it’s about the moment-by-moment, daily decisions. I love the idea of thinking about something just one minute longer to allow my decision to play out, be written out potentially as a rough draft, and then be revised immediately before it’s read by an audience. I think this is a priceless droplet of wisdom right here.

I’m convinced my story has never been characterized by a single event that happened, attitude I held for a time, or decision I made. When I grasp for a water analogy, I reach for the idea of springs, rivers, oxbow river paths, canyons, and erosion. Repeated action carves the path for the water to run in the direction it does. A repeated trickle doesn’t seem threatening or powerful–until it has chiseled a path in landscape, limestone, or granite over time. A few water droplets moving in the same direction can really create something surprisingly powerful, don’t you think?

This blog having a Christian focus, I then have to consider each choice in light of one thing, really. My choices made are written fairly indelibly on the pages of my story, aren’t they? If I am intellectually honest, each choice has a moment to which I never really return. It’s a done deal. If they are more permanent than I’d like in the end, I have to consider the decision before it’s already made (hence, the sixty seconds mentioned above). What if the decision’s outcome was weighed in my heart in light of my Abba Father’s love for me, His wisdom, and the Son’s sacrifice on the cross? Wouldn’t that make some difference in my choices? I might not repeatedly write events into the storyline the same way. My main character might be very different. The story’s twists and turns would map out quite differently, or an oxbow river path may be altered over time to create a straighter path. It’s all in the little, daily, repeated choices. A few droplets moving in the same direction can have quite an impact, right?

   “But if it doesn’t please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship…”

~Joshua 24:15a

Our choices are all about who we choose to serve. What more can be said than that?

Decisions become easier when your will to please God outweighs your will to please the world.

~Anso Coetzer

Another little wisdom droplet right there. Are they really easier? Is Coetzer telling the truth? I’m convinced this is in the same category as the “several droplets all moving in the same direction can have an impact.” I believe the first time we choose, it will be a fight. It’s when we make repeated choices that we have the opportunity to begin to carve a path where the water will run smoothly and fast. Knowing the right decision based on our will to please God is right on target for making the decision easier to make in theory, but following through is the difference between theory and practice. As we are more careful about this, we become better authors and take care in what we write indelibly on the page. (In case the word indelibleis about to drive you crazy, just know there’s another post for another day, of course. Or, read the First Splash and on through, if you haven’t.) 

I’m so glad the word indelible isn’t quite what we think it might be. There are ways to influence the storyline even after what seems to be an irreversible decision, or a painful one for us and others. We’ve been granted grace for the author choices we make, and I love that! I love that the Son of God hung on a tree for my choices past, present, and future–the entire story! When I think about those things which I cannot change in the past events, I can mourn those events, but I can also be assured they are covered by the grace of God. That changes the story dramatically, doesn’t it? That gives me a reason to worship God…to celebrate His goodness!

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

~Orson Welles

One of the most important things to consider when authoring a life story is the ending. A good autobiographical author writes on the page with the storyline and the end in mind simultaneously. If I would like to end my story a particular way, I would have to write with the end in mind. What if we all did that? We might have some well-lived life stories if something like that happened!
I’m wrapping this one up with a favorite quote from a movie a very dear friend shared with me last year. I’d never seen it, but I know many have. I’m a bit of a slow adapter at times, but I get to the good stuff eventually!

“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

The sweetness of a new day is the freshness in it. I love to think that each day is new, with all the mercies it may need (Lam. 3:22-23)! He is good!

Today, no questions at the end. I really want to just consider more of my personal story and the authorship responsibilities I have.


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