It’s the last day of February. I’m quite surprised, really. I do have a particular habit for not noticing how time passes–both in memory and in the day to day. I’m oft-quoted to have asked, “What day is it?” It’s not that they all run together, but that they are so full. I forget where one ends and another begins. I also tend to judge a day by when I go to bed and wake up, not by a 24-hour period. So if I take a 3 hour nap or end up waking up at 2 in the morning, I have no idea what day it’s supposed to be. I do know that today is Friday, and that makes me quite happy. This week, like this month, has been all sorts of crazy. But I’ve come to understand a few things.
I think that more than anything, this month has taught me that you can’t escape. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, there are some things that will always come back. Death will always be snatching away souls, and it will never sit right, and I will always have to struggle through that. But people dying doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t go on living. In the end I know that Death will be no more, in fact it is already on a ticking clock. Death is not natural, not something we should merely accept. It is an enemy that tries to destroy me, but no matter how hard its waves crash, death will not cause my foundation to crumble. My hope is anchored on a Rock whose power far outweighs that of the grave. Every attempt Death makes to sway me, I only cling to my hope more tightly.
Another thing I’ve learned this month is that I am meant to help people by using my words. This takes a bit of explaining, but basically that’s the bottom line. For a while (as in the last couple of months) I was considering going into some sort of event planning career. At first I thought just doing special event planning, like organizing parties for people. Then I considered fundraising and working with non-profits. But the more I considered it, the more it started to not fit as well as I had originally thought. I had my doubts–was I really cut out for that sort of thing? I considered my personality and the way I work. I’m very much an INF, and split in the middle between P and J. I am literally half and half. But from my honors class this semester, I realized I’m not so great at the whole group thing, and fundraising is definitely a group effort. So with all that said, how did I end up convinced that I’m supposed to use my words?
I’m not a fan of tragedy. I’m not itching to struggle through the hard shit in life. But I face it head on. I’ve learned throughout the years that it’s really my only option: to be honest about the gritty, dark, hard things that are right in front of my face. If I don’t confront them, I can’t get through them. Until you quit turning a blind eye, you’ll only be running into walls. My point: the tragic incident that happened at my school shocked me back into seeing a bit more clearly. The pain, the anger, the hurt, the confusion, the sadness: I saw it, I felt it, I knew it. For almost a week, there were crisis counselors on campus, and the regular counselors on campus have adjusted their schedules to accommodate the people this has affected the most. And my heart burned. Why? Because this is what I do. In my every day life, when things go to hell, I dig in with my words and I try to make some sort of sense out of the stuff I go through. I write until the words bring me back to the Word, the hope that I hold most tightly to.
I have always believed that there is something mysterious about words. At times they are not enough, but they are also all we have. And above all, it never ceases to amaze me how sometimes they say everything we need. That’s the beauty of language–of our words that we share that can offer hope or so accurately capture despair. Not only this, but in one language there are words that cannot be directly translated to the other, adding to the richness of this gift we’ve been given. I would hate it if we all spoke the same language–we would lose so much! Words tell stories. Control over what words are said and how words are understood is an incredible source of power that has often been abused throughout history. But I want to use words to help people make sense of the pain, help them express the hurt, help them dig for their hope. I want to use words to heal, to inspire, to remind, to commiserate.
We are all stories. For the first eighteen or so years of life, our chapters are largely written by the decisions of others. But there comes a time when we must take up the pen. We have to take a good look at Part One and figure out where we’re going to take it from there. What will we do with our chapters? How will we write our pages? Will we believe our stories are worth something, to Someone? There is a greater Story at work that is not about us, but it does involve us. The Storyteller is not set back if we choose not to participate, but we are far more fulfilled when we look to something outside ourselves. We know our flaws all too well; how beautiful then, to rest on the Flawless One? Stories are made to be told. People are made to be loved. We have much to learn about ourselves, about each other. The Storyteller is at work, and we get to help write the pages.
We can’t escape our stories. We can try to silence them, but they will always have some sort of impact, some range of influence that is outside our knowledge. As far in my power as possible, I want my story to give life to others. If it is going to impact and influence people, I want my story to do as much good as it can. I can’t do this, by any means. The Storyteller works through this story of mine; I simply choose to live out my pages honestly. Could you say I’m an open book? Perhaps it’s not so readily apparent due to my general reservedness and awkward nature, but I shouldn’t have to say it for you to see it. I might not be easily figured out, but my life should tell you everything you need to know. However closed I may seem, I point to my life for you to read. Just remember that there are still empty chapters and blank pages. The Storyteller is at work.