My story

I’m surrounded by stories.

Brian and I, as part of the Story Team, spent much of the Verge conference this past weekend at the Story Team van as we collected the stories of what God is doing all over the world. The best part was sitting in the van, just listening. Story after story, God was faithful and got all the glory.

Then on Sunday, we met up with a lady who would like to be on Story Team. We told her all about the team, how everything works, and what our experiences have been like. More stories.

And for the past month, my kiddos have been writing stories and making books for a contest. The big reveal is at an event in a half hour (thank the Lord!). It’s been all about stories in class for weeks. We brainstormed, we planned, we drafted. Then we revised and edited and published. We illustrated and them bound these books– and in all this I say “we” because I have literally been involved the entire way with all 43 student books. Last night, I stayed up until LATE to get them all graded. So. Many. Stories.

And then there’s this blog– our daily recounting of the story of year one for me and Brian. It’s so close to the end of this part of the blog, but of course, nowhere near the end of our story.

I’m surrounded by stories, I talk about stories, I teach stories, I help with stories, I tell stories… and I’m living a story.

One of my favorite authors says this about story:

“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
I am blessed to help my students create stories, and to live even better ones. I am blessed to hear and write and edit stories of God’s grace and faithfulness. I am blessed to be living a good story. I am blessed to share my story here.
It’s not normal– this life of mine. But, according to Miller, it just means I found some meaning in life. And I have.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
–from “Blessed Assurance”

The power of story

I loved The West Wing when it was on TV. The truth is, I love most of what Aaron Sorkin has written (I don’t like his new show Newsroom, it’s kind of a hate-watch for me) for two very specific reasons. Neither of which is his dialogue, as his level of line recycling is amazing, but not in a good way.

The reasons I admire him so much is because of his command of character and story. The plot points aren’t subtle or surprising, but they masterfully frame his narrative. His monologues and climatic moments may border on cheesy, but he knows how to get to his audiences emotions. Cynical critics aside, the man knows how to yank on heartstrings. Still, its surprising that I love the West Wing so much because I disagree with almost every single political message the show sent. Seriously, almost every one.

But I still loved it. So when I found all the seasons on Amazon Instant Video over the weekend, I immediately started the series from the beginning. I tried to get Lindsey to watch it with me, and at first she wasn’t interested. Then, after walking into the middle of an episode she changed her tune.

She is watching it with me now, and she is starting to really enjoy it. Seeing her enjoy it reminds me of the power of narrative and story. It reminds me that story is a universal means of connecting with others. I believe that humans were created with a need capacity and need to connect with others, and that we do it through stories.

An author Lindsey and I like, Don Miller, wrote a book all about how our lives are stories that we write as we live them. It has really stuck with me over the years. I think about that a lot in context of our marriage. We are writing a story right now. We are in the opening chapters, and there is so much ahead. There will be many defeats and struggles, just as there will be many victories and joys. But the point is, just like a good novel or TV show, we have to focus on writing that story. We have to get up everyday and build the plot together.

So far, it’s been a great love story. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.