January 11, 2017

It's really about the story


"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
Marcel Proust

Over the past year, I have re-discovered my love of reading.
I grew up as a reader, but as I grew older, I had the issues of time and focus.  I also have always found that I become very immersed in stories so I would allow a once a year splurge that would usually involve a three day marathon with several hundred pages with everything else in life taking a back seat.  This is fine when you're a childless twenty-something, but not always a good thing as priorities and needs shift.

Realizing that this reading style wasn't sustainable for my life, I'd limit my reading to one book every year or so.
But I found as life changed, stress or big events seemed to be defined and remembered by my reading.  I turned to books for therapy when I had major life changes or events, and now think of the book that went with that time and how it helped or supported me.  

Last year I discovered that I have time to read.  I always had the time actually, but it just was hard to see from certain perspectives.  The time was subtle and always there.  It was about changing how I viewed reading and using my time.

Sometimes it is just as simple as recognizing what was always there....

In a recent read, I've been looking at the life of St. Francis of Assisi.  One thing that I learned was that my God time shouldn't be a marathon either.  It shouldn't be on or off, or black or white, a valley or a mountain. 
It should just be.

I remember falling in love with the stories I heard in the Bible as a child.  Doctrine didn't draw me to God.  What made sense was the stories.
I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up.   They taught me so much including how to read and love books and stories, but more importantly,  they made time to tell me stories and play games.  I don't recall them ever telling me that they didn't have time.
In these stories I saw protection and promise.  I saw God's caring and constancy.  It was made real thru these people who cared for me.

God's word isn't made of doctrinal rules, but shows the struggles and real lives of His people.  People like me.
I learned from my Grandparents that the stories were just as much a part of God as they were.

I love logic and that God has provided structure in our world, but I have been missing the part as an adult that God is a creator and artist.  He is telling his story, not just his laws or rules, in the Bible and with his people.  
I have been trying for most of my life to put God into the same pattern I had in reading.  Worship and study was either off or on.
I was in the habit of  trying to fit God into my life instead of seeing how I fit into his plan.  I was failing to see that God wasn't a splurge, but everywhere and in all things.

I'm seeing that the story and taking time to learn it as well as live it are what my life should be about.

What I've realized is that study and worship don't have to be big.  They don't always require going to a building with a minister or leader or following a certain schedule.  Sometimes worship means being aware of God's presence within our world.
It's recognizing his art in nature.
We just have to see it.

It makes me aware that God has given me a story as well to tell with my life, and that I need to be more open to listening to the stories of others.
Most days I still don't know what my story is, but I'm learning that often it is just about showing up and being aware of life and those around me.  I'm finding that so much of my life is filled with those who just want me to be there and be present with them.
And maybe I just need to start with learning to tell the stories I already know with the passion and love that they were told to me so that the children whose lives I'm blessed to be in will learn to love them and hold them in their hearts just as I did.



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