there are moments in life when our words, as heartfelt and meaningful as we want them to be, hold very little of the importance we believe they do.

i think, in a way, thats why we like stories so much.  we ask people how their weekend was, or where they’re going on vacation. and when they respond with “you’ll never believe what happened….”, we’re all ears.  we buy books and watch movies.  we play video games and disappear into virtual reality.  no matter the medium, they all tell us stories.

it’s almost as if without understanding exactly why, we know that stories carry more meaning than the words used to convey them.  it’s one thing to know that someone’s heart is aching, and something completely different to hear the story of her abuse, or his sisters drug problem.  someone can tell us they are in love, but those mere words seem almost empty when you hear the incredible story of how they met, or how he proposed.

we gravitate towards stories because we intrinsically understand that life, in its most beautiful, is made up of stories.

the sad part, is that for many of us, the most amazing stories we will ever experience, are those we read or hear.  we constrain ourselves with our books, movies and video games.  the stories our coworkers share about their weekend or their upcoming vacation to paris excite and entice, but we never take that step and decide to live our own stories.  we surround ourselves with what we chose to believe is important, our jobs, the bills we need to pay and that tv show we’ve just got to watch…. and we never step beyond it.

maybe we’re afraid of the stories we’ll be part of, or the part we will get to write.  maybe we’ve seen to many stories end badly, to many ships sinking in the waves of the storm.  maybe we’re the ones with the stories of heartache.  of abuse and abandonment and pain.  maybe we’re the ones who’ve given up, and decided that if thats what living is like, we dont want to anymore.

i know that in so many ways, that reflects who i am.

but then there are moments.  moments when the Author of this story gives us a glimpse.  a glimpse into something that raises our eyes above the immediate that surrounds us.  a glimpse of the sun through the storm clouds.  a snapshot of endless beauty that brings life to the shades of gray that surround us.

and in that moment, we are lifted from your surroundings, from the chapter we’re mired in.  and we realize that this chapter is but a few pages in the book of our life.  you realize how much bigger this book can be.  and hopefully, we realize again, that we can trust the Author of this story.  we realize in that moment that it’s only because of the binding of grace, that our story is still being told, that our book hasnt fallen apart.  and that even through the darkest times we’ve ever known, there is a happy ending out there.

think about it, the stories we love the most are those of the hero overcoming, of finding that someone and falling in love, of the underdog – victorious, of the downtrodden defended.  the stories we love the most are those of facing our giants, and seeing them fall.

those are the stories i want to tell people.  at the water cooler, while passing in the hallway or sunday after church.  i want stories of danger and risk, and love and endless beauty.  stories that carry with them the weight of a life being lived.  stories, stories i’ve lived.  stories i am living.

stories, held together, bound by grace.