I often reread good books, books with stories that I enjoy, books where the writing/language itself is something I enjoy or the setting transports me to a place and time that I find engaging.
Rereading a good book is like taking a little vacation day after day. I relax into it, I settle down to enjoy how the story unfolds, let go of my cares and move through the story knowing that there will be no surprises that I can't handle, no unsettling changes to the outcome, delighting in reading the details that I'd forgotten or rushed through during the first or second read. And truthfully, any uncomfortable parts or slow parts of the story, I sometimes skim through when it's my second or third read.
When I reread a book I rest, fully relaxed, safe in the arms of the author. I love that feeling. There have only been a few instances when I read a book the first time that I've developed that same sense of trust in the author. It's not a frequent occurrence for me.
It struck me today...what if I could do that with my own life? Would I want to relive my life if I were given the chance to, knowing all the outcomes already, perhaps forgetting the small details and delighting in remembering them or grieving again as I went but basically knowing how all the major events unfold and how the story ends... would I choose to relive my life again? Would I choose to reread my own story?
I don't think so.
Harsh, eh? I wouldn't choose to relive my life. (Although I'd probably reread it if it were a book and written well. :)) It's just that the sad times have been so sad that I think knowing the outcomes would rob me of enjoying the good that preceded them. I'd agonize knowing that my brother would die so young, I'd be so sad and bitter knowing that my first marriage would end that the good times preceding those ends would be tainted.
BUT! What if I could somehow achieve the benefits of knowing the important outcomes the first time around? What if I could achieve that sense of trust in the author during the first read? Is that possible or even desirable?
For me, I think it would be ideal. I would experience so much less stress if I were assured and I truly trusted that I could handle whatever might happen, whatever the rest of my story holds; truly trust that my ending is a good one. If I could rest comfortably, trusting in the author of my life, in God's plan for me, I would be a different, happier, more giving, more vibrant, alive person. I would be free... in so many ways.
This may sound strange but I believe I've been given this assurance, verbally, directly, from God.... through a man on a park bench on a sunny fall day.
I wrote about it at the time but I was writing it to get it down as quickly and as clearly as I could. I didn't have the time or mental capacity to express what the moment meant to me. But I've thought about that moment many, many times since then and I always remember it with the same profound feeling deep inside my ribcage.
An elderly man, a stranger on a park bench said just one sentence to me as I walked by and those words will never leave me: "It turned out all right for us, didn't it?"
I replied with a smile, "it sure did" and kept walking. But within my next heartbeat those words charged through my solar plexus, reverberated through my spine, my mind and imprinted on my soul.
The man was referring to the weather that day but whether he knew it or not he was also delivering a message I desperately needed to hear. Words that assured me that my baby boy would not die, in spite of his awful reflux choking, that I would someday properly love my little girl in spite of my daily agonizing over who I 'should' give her away to because surely anyone else could love and care for her better than I could.
And my boy didn't die and I do love and adore my girl.
And I believe there will come a day long in the future, when an elderly man (Andrew) will say those words to me again: It turned out all right for us, didn't it? Those words are true today and will continue to be true right through till the end.
If ever I've heard the word of God, this is it. He met me on a park bench in one of my most troubled times. And he will continue to meet me, continue to carry me, and I will enjoy my story more this first read through if I choose to trust and rest in His arms.
My word for the 2014 is Trust.