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.