We all have ’em.
Some we like to share and others we don’t but whether good or bad we all have hours of tales to tell of our life gone by.
I’m amazed by the stories of each person I meet, or at least those that are willing to share.
I marvel at the trials overcome.
I’m weighted by the trials of the day.
I’m moved to tears by the providential hand of God in lives.
I am so intrigued by the day-to-days. How they are just like mine or so incredibly different though we live just a few streets away.
I am keenly aware that most of a person’s story I will never know.
I won’t ever know what kept them awake at night when they were 4.
I won’t ever know how that teacher made them feel that day.
I can’t see what events have shaped them most and how the sum parts of all their days make up who they are as they sit near me now.
In the same way no one who meets me for the first time today will know how I felt on that particular day in grade seven.
They can’t see the years of being unsure how we would pay all of our living expenses.
They won’t know what it felt like to read scripture next to my dad’s hospital bed unaware if he could hear me.
So forgive me for being unable to know what makes you you. I want to be able to see but it takes time. Depth. Vulnerability.
I find that the more stories that I hear the less surprised I am.
We are sinners, overcomers, over achievers, under achievers. We are train wrecks and brilliant diamonds. We’ve been betrayed and we’ve been betrayers. We’ve loved and we’ve been loved. We’ve gained and oh, how we have lost.
So as I walk through the grocery store this morning and see men running straight for the flower section I try not to assume that they forgot that it was Valentine’s day and I believe that they have a story. A why.
And I sit around a table full of women and I shake my head at the incredible overlapping nature of our circumstances while hardly knowing anything about them at all and I know that our stories have brought us together to this place.
I’m conscious of the story I portray. Do the people I pass at school, do they know that my Louis Vuitton bag was bought for $14 in a second hand shop? Are they aware that I feel insecure today for reasons I’m not even sure? Do they know the weight of decisions I need to make today? Do they know that I’m going home to bake scones and assemble a quinoa salad for my family today and that’s why I needed so many lemons.
I try to see you as I want you to see me. To look beyond the superficial. To not judge by brand or lack there of. To know that there are days we want to rejoice and days we want to cry all. day. long.
I know that you are beautiful because you are made in the image and likeness of God. I know that even though I don’t know you.
I stare hard at your photo on the front of the newspaper because you scare me and cause me to never want my children out of my sight but I force myself to look into your eyes because even you have a story. And even you bear the image of God.
It seems that the older I get and the more people I meet the more I see that we are all the same. We may try to walk to our own drum and hail individuality at our core but I guarantee that whatever it is your feeling right now, someone else out there has felt it. Has known it. Has celebrated it. Has grieved over it.
Our story in not that different. My story is not that different.
They are part of God’s story.
So we have no reason to be ashamed. No reason to claim victory as our own.
It is all His,
He holds them in His grasp.