Choosing a Life Story

I sat with a companion this week to say farewell to the journey of five years we had taken together in spiritual direction, and I could not keep myself from smiling as we rehearsed the moments and milestones together. Surely there had been disruptions, disappointments, uncharted roads and unexpected turns. But as I listened to her recap the narrative, I was thrilled to hear the change in arc of her storytelling from our first encounter to this closing moment. The faithful Spirit of the Holy One has transformed her life story from one in which she is an abandoned victim of cruel fate into one in which she has love, power and gifts to give to a community of people around her, and can tell the story to prove it. Her visage glowed, her body was energetic, and there was hope in her eyes. This is the work of the Spirit, because many of the harsh realities of her life remain the same. But she has been healed and delivered to a place where she can, following Moses, “choose life.”

Many days choosing life, telling my life story with God, is my biggest challenge. Watching the political polls with the fascination of watching a rattlesnake does not bring me  life. Wringing my hands over the endless cruelty and oppression of dictators and wild rebels does not bring me life. “Eating the bread of anxious toil” does not bring me life.

So I begin a new weekend determined in prayer to tell my story by choosing life. I will be grateful to God for every blessing that befalls me, and they are multitudinous–shelter, safety, opportunity, food, love and beauty. I will open my heart to the people God has given me to love, long time friends who are celebrating, friends far away who suffer in waiting, virtual friends who let me know of crises, people I encounter in  airports, shops and eateries. I will trust that I am accompanied by the Spirit wherever I go, and that She will not leave me or forsake me. I will look for opportunities to do good, be of use, share my heart and resources. And I will take joy in knowing that I belong to the God who loves the world and is at work in me to do my part in its healing and wholeness for Christ’s sake. I will open my being to the One who satisfies me with good things and has wonderful surprises in store for me.

And when the weekend is over, I will shape my story around the way that I experienced God’s presence in me and through me. I won’t need to rehearse details of hurts and slights, of  things that went bump in the night, of how awful it was. So I set my intention: I choose to live the abundant life that God is giving me this weekend. Maybe with enough practice, I can learn to live and tell the story of Life every day!

 

Notes from the Mainline: A Reflection on the Mainliner's Guide to the Post-Denominal World
Finding a Sacred Rhythm: Response to The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski
Invitations on the Journey: Gratitude
Graceful Virtues: A Reflection on the Grace of Yes by Lisa M. Hendey
About Elizabeth Nordquist

Elizabeth Nordquist is a Presbyterian pastor, teacher, and spiritual director who writes on women's issues, spirituality and Scripture, and what is happening in the world--hers, her neighborhood, the Church and the world. Each day she looks for ways in which the Spirit is moving in and around her.


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