Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Story Teaches Us :: We Learn to Laugh(and #oneword365) #TellHisStory

As promised, I am going to keep walking in this path of story through this new year. I hope I have committed so fully to knowing and living my story, and encouraging, guiding others to do the same, that it will shape the rest of my life.

So far, I have talked about how we learn to see through our stories. And this is really a part of everything else that story teaches us as we allow it to become the lens of our lives. Too, I have shared how we learn to behold. At the heart, this means all story in the light of God's Story reveals His Glory, especially in the most surprising places. And I have shared about grief, how story teaches us its complex nature and we learn how to take an honest journey through our grief to the hope.

But, there is a light side to story too. Story teaches us to laugh at ourselves, at the crazy things of life, and this is both freeing and profound. (click to tweet)It takes humility and grace to laugh at the funny, quirky, yet lovable,we have lived.

My twin sister, Sara, has always been my tutor in this. The Lord knew I needed a goofy twin ;)

This was at the airport after we arrived for our first furlough. My son is confused...he is just meeting her at 17 months old.
Here are a couple of the ways that looking into my own story has taught me to laugh:

I cannot deny it, I have always been a 'spazz'. No matter how mature I grow or the wisdom I gain, if something new or surprising happens or my husband gets *slightly* lost driving, I go a bit crazy.

One night years ago, after talking until 2 or 3 AM with our brother, Sara and I were driving on I-287 in New Jersey. She was new to the area and had not gotten her registration changed and sure enough, a police car began following us. She remained calm which translated to 'cautious' driving about 35mph on a 65mph highway. When the officer pulled us over, he had seen me talking animatedly to her about the situation, as a kind of spastic silhouette in the middle of the night. After checking her breath for alcohol and trying to discern if there was anything seriously wrong to make her unfit to drive, he asked, 'but what about her? (meaning me) She had her arms swinging erratically in the car.' Sara said, 'I don't know officer. All I can say is that she is my twin and she has always been like this...a spazz.'

In general, related to myself and others, I am quite clueless. I have gotten better here. But I still lack a good deal of common sense, being an extremely abstract thinker by nature. In my single years, I was often the last to know if someone liked me, and too, if they didn't like me ;)

But, the biggest, craziest example of this is how I became a math major in college. It happened one late winter afternoon during my senior year of high school. I was planning to major in Elementary Education, and Sara suggested I consider secondary education in a subject I was really good math? So, I took that at face value and declared a math major. Because I was taught to finish what I started, I studied hard through Calculus IV and became a math teacher. I added the credentials and lots of credits to become a Spanish teacher along the way.

Then, when I got my first job teaching Spanish, I not-so-politely declined to teach Math saying, 'I am not passionate about Math.' After life turned and I moved back home, I went into the District Office of my old school district to put my name in as a Spanish substitute teacher, not even listing my math credentials, though they were on my resume. However, quite miraculously and since God really does have a grand sense of humor, there was a full-time Math teaching job open. The Superintendent of the school remembered me from playing softball with his daughters and my years going through the District. My secret was out, and I found myself reluctantly accepting a full-time, contracted job teaching. I said 'yes' with the fierce stipulation of staying one, AT MOST, two years.

In the end, I stayed five years. I was humbled by all I thought I knew about life, remained grounded and home. And in God's great kindness, too, I was living with my parents when my mother got sick with cancer. I was also in the right location to meet my husband by being at that no-never-ever-will-I-teach-Math job.

Story teaches us to laugh at ourselves, at the spazzy and the clueless. As we gather with other story-tellers who have the grace and humility to laugh at themselves, we find even greater humor in the midst of all of the pain and tragedy in the world.

The laughter comes with the truth that we have and will get it all wrong. In our sincere desire to figure out life, our struggles for control, our need-to-know and our desires to live our dreams, we are going to miss the mark. In the light of a God who loves us in spite of all of this, and who is moved to compassion because of it, we see the beautiful ways of laughter woven into our stories.

And this is kind of connected, in my usual round-about way ;)

My One Word for 2015: WELL 

My focus on 'well' this year is full of the beauty of knowing I am God's. He has written my story and done great things in the midst of my crazy, foolish yet lovable ways.

Also, 'well' relates to the depth of stories from which I am writing my story, and the well of all of God's goodness in salvation.

The focus verse related to my word is Isaiah 12:3 'With JOY you will draw water from the WELLS of salvation.' As I embrace God bigger than all my mess, His ever-saving and ever-rescuing me, there is A WELL OF JOY, from which springs LAUGHTER.

What about you? What from your story has taught you to laugh at your crazy yet lovable ways? And do you have a word picked out for 2015? If so, please share in the comments, I would love to hear it!


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