Friday, November 30, 2012

Beautifully flawed

"So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification.

And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone." --Donald Miller

One story. At times, that is such a frightening thought to me. One chance. To do it all right. This week in particular feels like a harsh reminder of how much of my story I have already done wrong. The face in the mirror has reflected memories of failure, as a friend, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend . . . there are so many pages in my story, I want to tear out and have replaced with lines that speak of something beautiful-something beautiful that people can read and see that my life wasn't about me, but about loving others more than myself, about forgiveness and compassion, sacrifice and kindness.

I know that a good story, one worth reading has to include obstacles and weaknesses that have to be overcome, tension between good and evil, right and wrong, and a hero who offers grace and salvation and saves the day. I know that a good story embraces that "to be human is to be beautifully flawed." But it is easy to fall into the trap of wishing for a life of no conflict, of no doubts that you are loved and cared for and wanted, of no tension between doing the right thing and doing what is easy, and of being your own super hero who saves the day.

I can often take my eyes off the dwindling sand in my hour glass and forget to embrace the people around me, to hold dear the time I have left. To be intentional about loving and giving of myself and to not live in the pages of wasted moments.

I know that embracing our brokenness is key to having an incredible story, because a story about an unbroken Mel would be dull, forgettable and meaningless. But a story that divulges and embraces my short comings, the seasons of droughts, and fears, and the struggles I daily face, make room for the only character that makes this life--our stories rememorable, powerful and unforgettable to enter.  It's in our brokenness that His beauty is seen. It is in that brokenness that He takes the pages that read of our mistakes, of our bad attitudes, of our evil thoughts, of our selfish living and follows them with chapters upon chapters of growth and change and learning to love and serve better---He adds in the beauty.

Beautifully flawed.

I believe that's how God wants our stories to read. Not running from our weaknesses and creating a glamorized fictitious tale of perfection, but to embrace our own story of unworthiness, to continually strive time and time and time and time again to become better today, tomorrow and the next day and the day after with His help, love and grace. To offer up our broken spirits and our contrite hearts, to admit our wrongs and our selfish desire for our stories to read only of us, and instead shining the light on The Hero and accepting His offer to make the most flawed story, breathtaking and remarkable.

Donald Miller goes on to say. "God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution" of each of our stories, and no matter what, I have to believe that whatever truths I see in my own reflection, whatever fires I see loved ones facing, or however many irreparable bridges I seem to collect along the way, that God's is using them to make the final words of my one story something beautiful . . .even if it is just one page at a time.
Psalms 51:17 “My sacrifice O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart . . .”

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