There are small things I have learned to love in this life of mine. Like how the shadow of my pen prances in the sunlight on the page when I write these words. Like how the denseness of the morning air causes a heaviness on the pages of my journal and how the ink seems to seep into the pages a little deeper. How the eyes of an old grey man who has lost his luster begin to dance when you ask him of his very favorite memory. How a small child can get lost in your eyes as you tell them a magical story that really isn’t magical at all, but becomes full of whimsey and wonderment simply because it’s something they’ve never heard before. Why? Because they are able to dream andimagine like we simply cannot. Story becomes Life.
I have said recently that my soul is weary. Feeling as if I have soaked in so much of the worlds suffering over the past few years that I am left to look into it deeply. Almost as if it is blood on my hands with God whispering over my shoulder “What are you to do with it” Should I wash it off because it makes me weep? Should I wipe my hands because I am uncomfortable or because of how others may judge me? Should I pretend it isn’t there because I don’t know what to do with it or how to make it go away? No, I should not. And I will not. Sitting with the worlds most wounded souls, crying with them, hearing of their pain. I think I soak it in deeper than the average person. Like I am feeling it with them sometimes. I am almost daily a bit burdened by the pull to write down all of the stories along my journey. There are simply too many. Trapped inside of my heart and dancing inside of my mind. I need to tell them. They need to be told. And today I stopped to think of my own path.
How my own steps and story of woundedness walked me into theirs. Into their stories.
It is no accident. I believe…When your greatest heartache becomes your greatest ministry then Grace comes full circle.
Recently being forced to look a bit of my own darkness in the eye – I have come. Full Circle. And I have realized I am a walking testimony of His redemption. If you were to look into my soul it would be a wondrous, colorful mirage. Not of my own doing or creation. But of a once torn spirit of darkness begging for redemption, light, and understanding.
A past suffocating breath being given new life….. and still, often, gasping. A mirage of my own spirit’s brokenness knitted together by the threads of the stories of others and the Ultimate story of a healing savior and a merciful God.
I am not my own.
I love rock climbing. Love the thrill of the height and the chase of the mountain. There is nothing quite like climbing up the side of a Rocky Mountain, having to be so present in the moment to reach the top, finally getting there and looking down to only ask yourself this question:
“How exactly did I do that? How did I get here?”
In his book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” Donald Miller talks about his friend, Bob, who wrote down everything he remembered. He says that he “captures memories, because if he forgets them, it’s as though they didn’t happen.” I read that and I realized simply this:
The memories in my mind of the world’s broken. The steps along my path into the stories of The Redeemed Suffering. The scars on my heart and on the hearts of others that I have been so honored to touch and feel and kiss with the lips of a Savior – are not my own at all. No matter what the story is – your story, their story, my story. The ending is Beautiful because the ending is Redemption.
“I want you to leave your heart here. Take ours with you.” This great pastor from Congo. He and his family had been forced to run into exile. He had lost many of his loved ones in the wars. His Life – his Story – spoke of strength and his soft and gentle disposition spoke of Hope. A gentleness like I have rarely seen. Our last night with them he said this: “The bible tells us… ‘Now that you have seen, go and tell‘ I ask of all of you ‘... now that you have seen, go and tell.”
Go And Tell
What good is a Story that is not told? What good is a Life that is not learned from? What Beauty is seen from a Life’s story of Wisdom when it is told for generations to come?
So I sit here in my favorite restaurant in my favorite Tennessee hide away with tears falling down my cheeks and songs of Redemption in my ears. After spending the day telling about these children’s stories time and time and time again. And my heart says this….
We Live our Stories so they can be told. It is when we see into the Scars of others and hear their stories of the Pain behind them that we step into their Story as well. And when we begin to love them – simply Love them – we begin to step into the story of Redemption. Not of our own strength…. but of the heart and soul of a Crucified Creator whose Suffering branded us to Him for eternity. That is what makes the ending of all Suffering beautiful.
That is what makes Survival worth it.
“….there is a force in this world that does not want us to tell (our) stories. It doesn’t want us to face our issues, to face our fear, and bring something beautiful into the world…. I believe God wants us to create beautiful stories…. I don’t know why there are dark forces in the world, but there are” – Donald Miller
And because there are, I will go. And I will tell. One. Story. At. A. Time. As they come to me. With no particular rhyme or reason. Because they are beautiful and honoring and they need to be told.
If these Strong Souls can live through them, how can I keep from telling them?