If I have a hope, its that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story and put us with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it matters, and you can create within it even as I have created you. I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgement. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants. —Donald Miller, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years
Having the amazing blessing and unmerited privilege of trekking across God’s green earth; 19 countries, more than 35 states in the U.S, dining with royalty and the rich of the earth, working with big named celebrities, learning some of life’s most important lessons from the most generous and yet poorest and ‘smallest’ of the earth, walking deep long deserts, living at the beach, moving through tropics, living out of a car, and this list could go on and on and on. Remarkable, I would say so. I have heard lots of remarks about my life.
In my life experience thus far, often adventurous and unpredictable, I have had the opportunity to see that beauty and life thrive throughout the world; and are not bound nor restricted by race, ethnicity, gender, economics, political association, religious affiliation, nor much else. That’s NOT to say that I don’t have a ‘religious affiliation’. I am a follower and servant of Jesus Christ; proudly, boldly, irrevocably. Nor does it mean that different economic circumstances do not affect quality of life. I have been privileged to be born in a place where someone with no one can still succeed and have a good life. Nor am I trying to indicate that there isn’t some gender inequality and relational challenges. What I am saying is that in the midst of poverty, wealth, atheism, polytheism, monotheism, cultures, ethnic groups, races, corruption, justice, desert, or tropic I have seen both life and death, hope and despair, happiness and hatred.
I love, in Donald Miller’s quote above, his recognition that God has invited us to be a part of a much bigger story than ourselves. Society and the world around us encourage us to focus on ourselves, but in doing so we find ourselves wrapped up and trapped in such a small story, and many times not even willing to live, really live. We don’t want nor have the courage to face the challenges and hardships that can mark our path if we are to step out on the edge and live, really live. While we can not change nor choose much of what happens to us, a very wise person once said, “Life is 10 percent what happens to you, and 90 percent how you respond to it.” So what’s your response?
I choose to live, to live fully, to live vibrantly, passionately, no regrets, in an epic novel in which God invites me to be a character in the story He is writing for His creation. I could wine and cry for being single, without family, very little income, and no real place to call home. However, I choose to live. There is adventure and life out there. Little children I have worked with in Latin America have taught me a lot about contentment in hardship. They have really shown me again and again how great life lived to the fullest looks; even though many of them have no family, no home, live in the streets, and aren’t sure where their next meal comes from. They have taught me again and again about generous living; not hoarding and taking more than needed, but rather sharing with others who also are in need. They have often shown me Jesus, and His gift of life. The joy of a smile, being together, running, laughter, crying together, walking and saying nothing, kicking a ball, asking questions. Many of these children, though much of the world would say they have nothing to live for, have challenged me to live life, live it… Choose to live! They could choose to be unwilling victims but often choose to be grateful participants. Do they challenge you as well? Will you choose to be a character in God’s great story of HISstory? God invites you, and these kid challenge you (or at least me) to really live this life for so much more than ourselves!