Thursday, November 01, 2012

Story of a lifetime

I just read something from Donald Miller this morning that said "what you'll leave behind is the story you've lived".  This struck me as being so true, and at the same time a bit overwhelming.  This may be due to the fact that some of my favorite places in the world to hang out in are bookstores.  With the exception of a really well thought out Barnes and Noble, these are all used book stores.  My favorite is undoubtably the original Powell's in Portland.  In fact, it's because of the time spent in these places that I am still hesitant to actually go through the pain of birthing an actual book of my own.  I wander the aisles and see countless thousands of books lying untouched or no longer wanted on the shelves.  I imagine finding one of my labors of love, with a two for fifty cents sticker, lying forgotten and dusty behind something by Louis L'Amour.  I imagine myself weeping uncontrollably and being forever banished from the hallowed shelves of Powells, never to find a bargain again.
So....chances are slim that my story will ever be left behind somewhere in print form.  More than likely, as is the case with most of us,  my life is all the story that I will get to leave behind.  Now I could deal with this in one of two ways.  I could be a passive participant, or character, in a story written about me, starring me, but not being driven by me.  On the other hand, I could be an active participant, or character, who actually has a hand in writing my own story.  Now understand, as a pastoral artist and a follower of Jesus, I freely admit that my story is not entirely my own.  The great Author Himself is actually writing this, I am just a sort of contributing editor.  A principle that moves story along is conflict and the attempted resolution of each conflict.  A story without conflict tends to be quite boring...not much to leave behind.  Those who know me might think that I tend to live more to the boring side.  Those who know me best though, probably understand this next statement.  I like conflict.   Now by conflict, I don't mean the personal kind.  I am referring to the obstacle to be overcome sort.  I've come to understand that this is what makes life more, shall we say, interesting.  If there is not a conflict on the horizon, I tend to start looking for one.
A recent example of this was the demise of our car 8 months ago.  Normally, and actually in  practically every other stage of our life, we would and have run out and purchased another primary  mode of transportation.  Not this time...and not for this stage of our being.  In our 12 years here we have become solidly urban dwellers.  One of my curiosities about people who dwell in major metropolitan centers is the reliance on mass transit and the absence of personal vehicles.  My wife and I decided that this chapter of our life would be greatly influenced by our decision to not own a car of our own.  Even as I write this last sentence and after 8 months of loving this new reality, I have a hard time resolving the memory of an earlier chapter of my story which included getting my license on the very day that I turned 16.  I don't always understand it but I can tell you that this chapter is much more " interesting" than it would have been with car payments and gas pumps.  
Once upon a time I thought that this stage of my life, especially as a grandpa, would include some down time and perhaps a cruise control setting that would buy me some time to rest.  Now that I'm into it I understand this to be boring and low reaching.  One of my other very favorite things to do is to hang out at Disney with my incredibly beautiful and adventurous wife.  This is most likely because of her enthusiastic appreciation for rides.  There is almost nothing I enjoy more than to strap in next to her as the ride begins.  It more than doubles the enjoyment of the experience.  The same goes for living life with someone who's motto is "if you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space."  The goal isn' t always as important the ride you took to get there.  As things slow down, which they always tend to do eventually, I am reminded that there is more adventure out there somewhere, with or without a car.  Many things I don't know, but this one thing I am sure of...these last chapters will be the most memorable.

1 comment:

Barney Nancy said...

Wow, that's really very touching write-up. Its completely unpredictable.

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