Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Join the Story

I read Donald Miller's book A Million Miles In A Thousand Years last year and Prodigal Magazine are linking some posts about what it means to live a good story. Here is my link...

At the moment I'm working here and part of my job is to listen to stories. Messy stories. Tragic, heartwrenching stories. Stories that make me angry. Or start me wondering how people can do what they do. Think people driven from their homes by war or invasion. Centuries of enmity that spill into personal attacks.

These stories have usually left people anxious or depressed or numb. Sometimes they are desperately grieving and thay struggle to catch their breath. Sometimes coming to another country for refuge brings rejection or extreme poverty or ongoing insecurity.

Their stories should not have happened. They are extraordinary in their barbarism. They are stories where death seems imminent and then somehow the storyteller survives. This brings its own surprises, like guilt or shame or gut-wrenching anxiety.

The temptation of hearing struggles is to try to fix them. To have an answer or a solution. Then we could all feel better. And move on.

But I can't fix these stories. I can't undo them or cure them. And 'moving on' is a lifetime's work.

We so love to do, don't we? Sometimes more than we like to be.

My part in the story is to listen. To hear, to acknowledge and to try to understand. To feel the helplessness. The loss. The indignity. And there is a redemptive power in listening. As the story is shared and known. People invite me into their difficult stories.

Listening is my attempt to live a better story.

One of the things I love most about God is that he invites me to be part of his story.

At a conference last Saturday, I heard the biblical narrative summarised as God working to restore his dwelling among us. That we originally shared an intimacy with him that is lost to us in this broken world. That the temple, Jesus and the church are glimpses of God living in the neighbourhood with us, now. And that the climax of God's story will be the new heavens and the new earth where he dwells among us in a new, restored way.

It is only through this bigger story of redemption and restoration, that I can find meaning in the difficult stories I listen to.

Perhaps you struggle to find meaning in the story sometimes?

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