Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Write a Better Story

I hardly ever worry. I don’t fret. I live quite positively really, except for this one thing: I have been nagged with one fear my entire adult life; I fear that my memory is failing me.

I have girlfriends who have memorized the most detailed information. They know precisely how long their labor was, how much their babies weighed to the ounce, the hour their child lost their first tooth, birthdates and shoe sizes!

At first I attributed my memory lapses on the fact that I have 5 kids (we don’t call ourselves a Tribe for nothing!). I attempted to comfort myself believing no one in her right mind could keep track of so much data. But I never believed it. I couldn’t convince myself to let go of the sad nagging fear that gripped my heart. Some nights I lay in bed wondering “Am I developing Alzheimers?”
And then I opened A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (my first Don Miller book).
Chapter ONE: “The saddest thing about life is you don’t remember half of it.”
So it’s not just me?

My heart swelled with relief. My eyes stung with tears that fell … and fell… and fell… I swear at that very moment a weight the size of the world was lifted off my shoulders. To this day, just thinking about it still moves me.

Excuse me – I need a tissue……

My life’s not boring - far from it. I actually have the largest calendar available via retail hanging on my refrigerator. Appointments, games, deadlines, birthdays and practices scribbled all over it with no white spaces to spare! Most people couldn’t keep up with me.

I’m not complaining – nay, I consider it a serious privilege to raise these children to be healthy, happy, contributing members of society who will love Jesus with their whole hearts no matter what they do when they grow up (and who will separate the whites from the colors).
That’s not all I do.

Aaron and I work together with Next Level International, a fantastic missions organization who is empowering a whole generation of leaders to equip, transform and expand the church in Europe. We are missionaries looking for partners who will send us to church plant, develop leaders and provide resources.

And then there’s my day job.

I’m a Parent Educator serving my community, supporting and encouraging parents of young children to be their child’s first and most important teacher. I facilitate playgroups, write weekly articles, visit isolated families and give away children’s books at the health department.

So to write it all out, it doesn’t sound boring. But I now know after finishing A Million Miles, that having a long string of random events, or in my case a plethora of activity, is not the same a living a good story.

I often get compliments on my writing. I write for conferences. I write blogs and articles and commentary on my Facebook photo albums. I do it because I like it. I’ve not been formally trained, my Microsoft Word program regularly corrects my English and run on sentences. I hardly know what I am doing.

But I want to do it.

After reading A Million Miles I made a simultaneous, dual pronged decision: I am going to write a better story; with my life and on paper.

Formerly, I considered it a success if I made it through the day. But I don’t want to simply make it anymore. I want to make memories.

And I don’t want to agree with people who think I should be a writer. I want to be a writer.

I wish I could go to Portland. I wish I could attend the conference Mr. Miller is hosting. If I could go I would meet incredible people, I would be inspired to change the boring, overactive reality I call life and transform it into a beautiful narrative.

Wait! Is this a positive turn? Am I, the character, deciding what I want? Could this decision, this blog be the beginning of a good story?

Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.

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