Days they force you
Back under those covers,
Lazy mornings, they multiply.
Life is mundane sometimes. It’s slow, it’s dragging, it’s the same circle round and round again. The sun rises, and the sun sets, slowly spinning round again, and everything seems much the same. We work. We eat. We sleep. We get up the next morning and do it all over again. Life is reduced to dry facts on a page: breakfast, shoes, car, computer, water.
And facts, well, facts don’t do much of anything. Contrary to what we often think, they don’t command you, they don’t encourage you, they don’t comfort you. They only tell you what has happened in the past, and what is happening in the now. You are here, this is going on, this is all there is, and this is all there’ll ever be. Basic, textbook definitions.
So everything becomes a grey list of steady, unending, unrelenting march of facts. Dry monotones that dull your sense and close your eyes in slumber. Basic, textbook life.
But we were never meant to be a textbook.
Outside your window
Wake on up from your slumber,
Baby, open up your eyes!
No, we aren’t a list of facts. We’re no encyclopedia. Our lives have a purpose, a meaning, a plot even! Our lives are stories — wondrous, thrilling, fantastic — flowing forth from the pen of the Author of all. Every moment in the story has meaning, every turn leads toward its theme and climax.
And not just the individual stories of our own lives. The whole framework of history, the tapestry of the world, has moved in accordance to His pen. Foolish is the author who puts in superfluous scenes, but He has none. Every single scene, every single soul, has been specifically placed in the great Story, to lead to its three great climaxes: the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Return. This is the great picture of the tapestry, but our individual threads have a meaning in it as well.
But the question then is, which way do we live our lives? Because textbooks and story books are quite different things.
One is bothersome, plain, boring; simply facts to be memorized for a test. Yet the other is fantastic and delightful, enmeshing itself upon the fabric of your memory to be recalled easily when needed. And yes, some textbooks may be delightful, but is that not actually because they tell us a story? They must take stark facts and create a narrative, a purpose, a plot behind them all, before we truly enjoy them. The true textbooks are those piles of random information, those pages of internet facts, those tangled balls of long arguments, those forest of encyclopedia articles; those tire, wear out, and silence.
But not stories. Stories enthrall us, captivate us, make us want to shout for all the awakened aliveness inside. We can find in them loud life — the blood rushing through your veins as your heart beats with fright, the celebratory singing and dancing when all comes our right, the way air smells when you throw your head back laughing in the bright sunlight. But they can give us also quiet, gentle life as well — the silent happiness of contentment for all, the small smile at the littlest actions of one you love, the breathing coolness of the stars twinkling down.
Wake on up from your slumber,
Baby open up your eyes.
You have the most beautiful of all stories. The story of One who crafted all, yet was rejected by His own creatures. The story of a Lover who throughout all history called, and laid the trail for His entrance. The story of a Savior, who endured every wrong for His enemies’ sake. The story of a Prince who became the Price for sin, to redeem His bride. The story of a returning King, who will right all wrongs, and conquer and rule over all, in a kingdom full of righteousness and peace.
You have the most beautiful of all stories to tell.
So tell it.
And your story-telling might not look exactly like anyone else’s. Maybe you tell it as an evangelist, maybe you tell it as a writer, maybe you tell it as a parent, maybe you tell it as a diligent worker, maybe you tell it as an artist, maybe you tell it by being a faithful witness to the couple next door — the Story can be told in a million different ways. But just tell it.
Because when we don’t, we let our lives become nothing more than textbooks of instructions, day by day facts, bleak lists stretching into nothingness. We surrender our very purpose for being here. We extinguish our light of hope to others. We let our voice fade into the nothingness of sleep. “Not to speak is to speak, not to act is to act” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
We talk about what we are passionate about. We act on what is important to us. So shouldn’t the Gospel, the good news, the greatest Story, be the theme — underlying or overt — of all our lives, all our words, all our actions?
We have the most beautiful of stories. And there are people waiting, with open hearts to hear it.
So tell it.
(Lyrics from “Slumber”, by Need to Breath. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIMt-omB8Ck)