Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stories

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about our stories – our lives. Do you know someone with a great story? I do. It’s you!

I watched a movie the other night that I have seen several times before. The part I love most about this film, is a theme that is actually in the monologue of one of the characters. It is the theme of story telling. He urges another to find out the story behind the case he is trying so that he may win the hearts of those seated in judgment.

We all have a story to tell. Some read like a great mystery or perhaps a tragedy. Mine is sometimes an epic saga and often a comedy. But to those who know me best my story is a never ending adventure.

Not long ago, I was in a situation where I was constantly being told someone else’s story – someone I was sitting in for while on an assignment. It was not a very good story and I imagined that it was not really their true story, but instead it the result of what their life’s circumstances had brought placed in their lap. I later found out I was correct.

I never will forget my first initial encounter with this individual. It seemed that most of what I’d heard was possibly true. In fact, not willing to be persuaded by another’s opinions, I decided early on to let this person tell their own story through the process of living their life where I could see it. Now, with it unfolding before my eyes I was becoming somewhat annoyed by their behavior.

Then, it happened. I began to hear their story. It was not so much in the words they shared but in the revelation I received while listening. Annoyance began to give way to pity, and pity to compassion. The story everyone else saw was different from the one I was encountering at that moment, and I quickly became ashamed of my shrouded view.

What’s your story? Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever shared it? I think about my friends that shared some difficult scenes from their past just a few weekends ago and how proud I was of them for being that vulnerable before so many. Have you ever allowed yourself to be truly vulnerable, even with just one or two dear friends?

Have you ever considered how closely you walk with those you count as true friends? How well do they really know you? Has your story touched their lives in some way ? I hope so! Otherwise, what’s the point of the journey? My dearest friends are such because of their stories – our stories and because they are well acquainted with mine!

I have a different view of the person I met whose story was been tainted in the sight of so many others. I am nothing special and not any better than the others in that environment who knew her story. I just simply listened, not only to what was said but also to the unspoken things that resounded louder than any words that could have been expressed.

Again, I ask you. What is your story? Let me ask it another way. Who knows your story? It is a need we all have to be truly known others who will share in our joys, our sorrows and in our adventures and to be loved and valued throughout the journey.

We must also consider who’s story we have not heard? Who’s life we may have missed out on because their genre was perhaps not to our liking? You never know. That person clamoring for our attention may have a best seller for a life with even a twist somewhere there in the middle. However, we may never find out if we will not determine to turn the page in our offended mind, so that we may simply listen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Deep Roots

I've been working in my back yard, trying to uproot a very hearty and unsightly plant. I've been told it's hard to uproot, completely. My friends who warned me about this were right, but they obviously knew very little about my resolve.

I have not been at all discouraged by the continual emergence I have seen from this very hearty "weed". In fact, I have been very encouraged because what was growing all alongside one area of the fence is now all but gone completely. I check it frequently to see if any remaining remnants are still struggling to make a go of it. If so, out they go!

Coincidentally, I find myself in the same place spiritually. I've been dealing with some deep roots - things I thought had been dealt with and some I never realized were buried underneath years of ground cover. Suddenly, or perhaps gradually, those things began to surface in such a way that I could no longer ignore them. It was time to dig up some roots.

The first time I started digging around in my garden, as any novice would do, I not only dug up what I could see, I also dug around looking for roots that I could not see but assumed were there lying in wait. I did find some, but not the majority of the ones that would soon surface.

Lesson #1 - Don't go digging around for something you can't see! Deal with it when it surfaces. Only then can you be sure of it's source and certain of whether or not you've uprooted all of it.

Sure enough, those roots I found that I went searching for had other branches I could not see. Because the weed had not yet shown itself above ground, I wasn't sure of where it started. I had only extracted a fraction of it.

Although spiritual house cleaning is a good thing, if God is not dealing with it, don't go looking for it! By all means, keep a clean slate as best you can but do not go in search of every imperfection. He will bring those things to light when the time is right.

Everyday I search that patch of earth, looking for any new growth that I may need to pluck up. Everyday I am finding less and less.

When I began this quest, I was out there everyday pulling and digging. At that time most of this plant's roots were barely below the surface. The ones I encounter now, have deep roots and are only appearing every few days - not everyday. I would not have found those at first because of all the other little ones I had to remove in order for these to sprout.

Now you can go with this wherever you choose but I'm just saying this. We must be consistent in tending our spiritual garden. If we let things grow up under our feet and fail to remove those weeds in our lives that will eventually become unsightly, we will find ourselves down the road dealing with deep roots.

Over the past few years, I have become much better about dealing with issues right away. I cannot stand for things to linger - especially issues in my own heart. This was not always the case. Therefore, I now find myself dealing with deep roots. It's okay though. Tending to the smaller weeds that surface on a regular basis, has made way for those things that were once hidden to come into the light.

It's actually quite freeing in the midst of the process, to know that this thing is not really a part of who you are. It is merely a weed left untended - something that does not belong where it has taken root and can therefore be discarded, making way for something more beautiful.

I am excited about the possibilities for this area of my garden. Once the weeds are all gone, I can do with it whatever I like and that makes me smile.