You cannot run from your story.
Your story is what holds you together. It’s the collection of experiences that have made you who you are. To devalue your story is to dismiss the individuals you’ve encountered, the places you’ve visited and the lessons you’ve learned. Without a doubt there are certain parts of your story you’d rather bury: friends who manipulated you, friends whom you betrayed, homes that made you weep, words you shouldn’t have said – the list goes on. Beneath even these memories are fears you don’t want to think about, because giving them any attention would make them come alive. There are things you’d just rather erase from your story.
But it doesn’t work that way. Your story is not a Word document with uniform letters and red squigglies underlining every error. Your story is not a string of witty social commentary squeezed into 140 characters. Your story is not a grid of perfect photos with filters and clever captions. These things can be replicated or deleted in an instant, but your story, YOUR story, is incorruptible.
Your story started before you, and it will continue after you. Your body will see decay, and your journey on earth will end, but somehow stories defy the rules of time. After all, your story is not just about you.
When you begin to embrace the history that preceded you and the legacy you’re carrying, you start to find meaning you’d never thought existed. You begin to realize that the tragedies of your childhood, the awkwardness you’re going through and the uncertainties you can’t comprehend are at once small and significant. You are one in seven billion people who breathe and eat and poop just like you do, yet you are one in seven billion people who breathes and eats and poops exactly like you. The point is, when your story becomes part of a larger plot, becomes more than the only narrative you know, you realize how special it is and how integral it is to other people’s stories. You realize how much help you received and offered along the way.
But listen closely. The value of your story does not come from how you think of it or how other people think of it. Yes, your opinion matters, and you need to accept and share your story. But your story isn’t important because of what it proves or demonstrates. Your story is important because YOU are important.
After the Creator formed the first male and the first female in the divine Image, God said, “It was very good.” It was good. Whole. Important. And then many, many years later, God took God’s Image, combined it with the form of the male Jesus and entered into a specific time period, setting and group of characters – a story. God’s story, intertwined with the stories of all creation, validating the ones who reflect God’s glory.
You are important.
Know your story. Uncover it. Be okay with it – not just the valiant parts, but ALL of it. A mirror can’t reflect clearly unless you see the dust and wipe it off. You know the mirror will get dirty again, but it’s okay, because when the dust comes back, you’ll wipe it off again, and again. It will be tiresome at times, but you can’t stop it. But no matter how dusty or clear that mirror is, your reflection is still there. You are there.
No matter how dirty or clean your story gets, no matter how little truth you want to see, you are here. Two ears, one nose and a bunch of eyelashes. An intentional blend of customs, quirks, conundrums and chromosomes. One in seven billion.
You are here, and your story is now.