Telling Stories

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A friend recently asked, “Why do broken people feel compelled to tell their stories?”

Well, since you asked (and even if you didn’t), here’s mine. First, some historical context. In the beginning, God brought order and beauty (and life!) out of the primordial chaos. Could anyone have predicted that? No. But God had plans. (“My plans are not your plans.”) Out of slavery, God brought liberation and a people curiously his own. An unexpected, but longed for, outcome. Then, out of the suffering and death and persecution of a very special Person, God worked the Resurrection. (Who really expected the Resurrection?) In the context of these stories, one can begin to hope that out of the chaos of the human condition and the oppression and ravages of addiction and disease, or whatever afflicts us, God might raise us to new life, too. It happens.

Nearly 28 years ago, I was hopelessly lost in the maze of alcoholism and as good as dead. It appeared there was no way out but the grave. And yet, I sit here today telling you the story of my new life as a sober and happy father, husband, physician, and believer. A believer, not because I heard about God, but because I met the One who intervenes, the One who calls into life what did not exist and gives life to what was dead. (Who expects recovery?) Ironically, my wounds were where the light got in and began the process of new life. Those wounds will always remain, but so will the new life. That’s how it works.

Now, I know a few things, but only a few essentials. One is this: Each of us is God’s own beloved and, when we are lost, God seeks us and finds us and brings us to new life,…if we allow it. But this gift only goes into effect and becomes a gift when it is shared freely with others. Telling your story is part of the process where being broken becomes a blessing and we are healed. Wow.

That is why broken people tell their stories.

Once upon a time

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