August 16, 2010

Sharing Who We Are

Yesterday and today the church had a work day. The main project involved painting the classrooms and hallways of the educational wings, trying to save money. Last night, Mike (my husband) and I spent a few hours helping. I put tape along the bottom of the walls and around doors and windows. I was assigned to the upstairs kitchen where two other people, who I didn't know, were in charge of painting.

There are four services at the church each Sunday, and since I attend the early service at 8:30, I do not know people who attend the other services. We introduced ourselves and within ten minutes, the man, told us his life story. Then the other person, a woman, told her story. I didn't say anything because my role seemed to be listener.

I am always amazed at how eagerly some people open their hearts so quickly, while others, like me, are more reluctant to reveal deep struggles.

Reflecting on my encounter on the way home, I realized how important "story" is to a person. "Story" can give an identity, for example the man shared detailed milestones of his life, those parts that shaped him in the past and those that contribute to who he is now. The woman's story was about how she had moved on emotionally and even geographically.

The story describing who we are has deep meaning. Stories can explain how I respond to life's experiences or how I define my priorities and direct my heart. My story is important because it is mine, only mine.

Jesus too, realized the importance of story as he walked among people and taught using parables -- stories about the kingdom. And I know that I remember stories my husband uses to illustrate his sermons more than anything else.

God, every day we live is another collection of stories added to our lives. Help us see you in each event, experience. or encounter. Use our stories to mold us more completely into the people who have created us to be.

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, Indiana

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