I needed some optional work completed on my mother’s renovation before the drywall closed the walls. I called a guy who my general contractor had recommended. But this subcontractor left me hanging without ever getting back to me.
“But why?” I asked my contractor. I continued, “He came to look over the job. We discussed the price and what to include in the job. He was going to get back to me with a quote.”
“Look,” responded my general contractor, “You told him too much. He’s a subcontractor and is used to dealing with the likes of me, not the likes of the general public. He told me that you started tearing up when you started unburdening yourself about the situation at hand. I just think he didn’t want to deal with the emotion,” The man’s voice started rising, “Next time, follow this advice: Tell ‘em you what you want, not why. No story.”
“You’re serious? That’s what went wrong?”
“I’m dead serious. No emotions. No story. Just: ‘this here, that there.’ ”
I followed his advice with the next guy and got the contract I needed. But those words reverberated in my head for quite a while, “No story. No emotion.”
I decided I don’t agree with them. Quite aside from contractors and the building trade, I am convinced there are good reasons for stories.
Without a love story, I wouldn’t have a marriage.
Without a story of disappointment, I wouldn’t have developed compassion.
Without a story of frustration, I wouldn’t have felt compelled to improve.
Without a story including children, I would have found it harder to give up childishness.
Without a story of conflict, I wouldn’t have learned to resolve things peaceably.
Without a story, there’s little of me. In fact, it could be said: No story, no me.
I understand story lines end up in unwanted places: betrayal, disease, divorce, loss, hurt and more hurt. I understand the accompanying emotions are often unpleasant. And some stories end in death. In fact, because we are human, all stories end in death.
But along the way, there are also stories of small triumphs and everyday miracles. Occasionally we even hear of stories overcoming the odds. We all love those kind of stories...especially when they’ve been pre-digested and packaged in written form.
And it’s always easier to tolerate the sobering aspects of any story when the finale is only a few pages away. In fact, the reason most of us are dissatisfied with the story of our own life is that we are in the middle of it and can’t see the forest for the trees. That and the fact that we don’t own an eraser big enough for this thing called Life.
But God does. And God loves stories...
His Book is full of them, and most of the time they come without editorial comments.
God’s Word is not a cookbook. It’s not found in the self-help section, nor under “how-to”. It IS a story compilation.
God’s Word is not a cookbook. It’s not found in the self-help section, nor under “how-to”. It IS a story compilation of individuals as unique as you or I and how they came to experience the reality of God’s mercy.
Try reading a chapter of the Bible today. Come face to face with God’s mercy and perhaps you too will exclaim, “What a story!”
God, that would be great! I mean, God in your story and mine would be great!