The Storyteller

We are sitting across the couch from each other, words and noise and laughter settling in around us. Her flowy shirt is wrapped tightly around her, and she rests her head in her hand as she talks. As others around us murmur in conversation, she tells me of the dreams.

They wake her in the middle of the night, covered in sweat and tears. They shake her to the core. They warn her of what life might be like if she walks down the aisle and promises him forever. They tell her of how her heart might break into tiny pieces if she has his baby.

I’m mesmerized, on this couch. I take each word and I commit it to memory, knowing they will need to be tucked away into my journal that night. I want to remember the God that she tells of in amidst her words, the God that writes our story and that speaks to us in dreams and tears and heartache. That loves us enough to go before us, to light our path, to hope with us, to steer us back when we walk the other way. I want to remember that God, the one that is bigger than the mistakes and the choices that I make, just as He was in her life.

I am a lover of stories, of the way people’s lives entwine and hold joy and sadness in the same moment. I am a story collector, tucking them away into the pages of my journal and the hidden parts of my heart. Later that week I am talking of my love for people, and I say into the busy restaurant, “I just love people and their stories.”

“Of course you do,” the one across the table says to me in her sarcastic way. “You’re Angie.”

And so I think of those words and the dreams, and I think of the stories I hold close. I think of the new friend on the couch, of her words and her heart and the God she loves deeply. I wonder why these stories matter. And then I think of that same God who tells us stories and wrote a Book big enough to hold them with their lifetime of truth and wisdom. And in her stories, in the conversations over coffee and the books I hold across my lap on the bus, I am realizing something about God’s heart: He is a story collector, too. He’s a writer, and he’s a listener, and he’s a teacher, and he does it all in this beautiful, poetic way of using life and words and making them beautiful in their season.

And so I am realizing: this story-loving heart of mine is a piece of God’s heart, a piece of the Image I am blessed to bear. I am honoured to hold it. And I pray that in the conversations that fall into your lap, and into your ears as you wander the streets of this city, that you see this piece of God’s beautiful heart, too.

Living in the Land of Should

I have a confession to make.

I live in this land called “Should.”

It’s not a place I’m happy to be in. In fact, it causes me a lot of stress. I spend more time “should-ing” – stressing over what I should be doing – instead of just being.

Depression makes this harder. It’s incredibly hard to be. Because you just think of all the things you should be doing. You think of the fact you should spend your time “wisely,” and “wisely” may mean not resting when your body actually needs it. Or it might mean not listening to your limits – but pushing past them, because those limits simply shouldn’t be there.

I’m dreadfully guilty of that. I’m guilty of pushing myself to be with people when I know my body needs a rest. I’m guilty of pushing myself to keep a clean apartment when it’s actually okay to spend time watching a movie because a little dirt never hurt anybody. I’m guilty of moving to another country because although it’s scary, and I know it’s not something I may want, it’s something I should want.

And you know what? All that living in the Land of Should has made me miss out on the life that God has placed right in front of me.

I’ve missed out on being. I’ve missed out on living presently.

So I’m packing my bags and I’m moving out from the land of Should. I want to sit in the middle of a fall day because the fresh air and crisp colours make my heart dance – instead of what I “should” be doing. I want to lay in the middle of my apartment and read, simply because it makes me happy.

God has given me this day. I want to begin to rejoice and be glad in it. I need to find out how God has made me – what causes my heart to dance in the goodness He has blessed me with?

Well, I’m packing my bags and I’m going to find out.