Tell me a story, I said.
I don’t have one, she answered. Nothing’s happened to me yet. No one can see me except on the days when I don’t want anyone to see me and then everyone can see me and I don’t want to talk about that. I’m basically invisible, living a normal kid life in a normal kid town with normal kid junior high problems. There’s no story.
What’s your name?
She gave me a withering look. You know my name.
No, I mean… seriously: what’s your whole name?
Jaimie Grace Owens. Pleased to meet you. Please don’t miss the eye-roll.
I caught it, thank you. And how’d you get that name? Do you know? Do you know why your folks picked those names?
Yeah- Jaimie was my mom’s best friend in school. She was like her sister or something but now they don’t talk anymore. And Grace was my gramma’s name. She died before I was born but all my girl cousins have the same middle name.
Owens is English, I think.
So, there you go.
There I go, what?
There you go, there’s your story. You may not be a writer or a storyteller by heart, but everyone HAS a story and it starts with their name. Your name is near the end of your grandparents’ story, it’s probably the middle of your parents’, and it’s the beginning of YOU.
I just mean that you are a story… a beautiful, intricate, thought-of work of art. Not what you do or where you go, but who you ARE, Love. It’s a story that will build and change and turn as life goes on but you are a stunning story. Not boring. Not invisible. Not passed-over or through. You are a piece of history, tied to the people who made you and the God who created you. And He is well-pleased.
My story is not dramatic or global or easily explained. It’s a mess, truthfully. My story is a mess. A mess of laughter and tears and snot. But I do have a story– written by the greatest Author of all Time. I’m still reading. I find myself having to go back to certain chapters and re-read, you know? Or I’ll find that I’ve skipped too far ahead or missed the last few paragraphs and nothing’s making sense… so I have to go back and look for familiar ground again. Or I’ll pick up similar lines from other stories and try to work them into my own…
I could do this, I think.
This is the obvious next step.
I was made to do this.
I should be here.
Look at all the signs.
I’d be perfect for this.
It just makes sense.
Over and over again, I find myself trying to alter a story that’s going too slow or too fast or too plain or too fancy for my fickle preferences. I grab the pen and, in the name of intention and courage, I rewrite a few pages.
Inevitably, I find myself deep in winter. Lent. Reflection. Quiet.
Oh, the humility of looking up from my “work” and realizing I’ve made things so much more complicated than necessary. That I am tired (of work I was not asked to do) and angry (because it’s not working) and hurt (because people are honest). And then I sit and I go back and I try to find a safe place to start over again. It is a constant effort, this life. Trying and searching and rerouting and repeat repeat repeat. I am bruised.
If only I could remember this:
I am story… a beautiful, intricate, thought-of work of art. Not what I do or where I go, but who I AM. My story will build and change and turn as life goes on, but I are a stunning story. Not boring. Not invisible. Not passed-over or through. I am a piece of history, a sum of the the people who made me and the God who created me. And He is well-pleased.
He is well-pleased.
So, slow down. Eyes on your own paper. You story, as is, is perfectly lovely. Stick with it. Keep reading. You’re only in the middle… there is so much more yet to come. Promise.
The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away.