My mom used to take us out of school to go and see movies she considered important. That’s how I saw White Nights and the Back To The Future series. We would immerse ourselves in the stories and talk for hours afterwards about the characters, their choices, and what we might have done differently. I would emerge from the movies full of life and dreams and popcorn kernels lodged in between teeth.
To this day I find my childhood self every time I set foot in a movie theater.
When I am tired or weighed down by the everyday-ness of everyday. When I wonder why I am where I am. I am always able to rediscover parts of my story through watching parts of someone else’s.
A friend made time for me tonight. At almost no notice at all. And we sank into the depths of a story and spent time wading through its layers and wondering out loud how it could have missed the heart of the heart of the story that is the beginning and ending to every tale ever spun and every life ever lived. Because buried under every narrative it is always there, urging a more nuanced look at ourselves. It begins and ends with love. And at the center, comes an epic sacrifice from a Carpenter. The quintessential every man who is more than any man.
Who one quiet day in September called my mom to come follow Him home, and she did.
That is the part of her story I can’t read yet. How my mom knows more about Him now than she ever could have when we tried to map out what it would be like. That as much as she tried to “explain” the Back to the Future timeline to me, the continuum of eternity eluded us both. But how certain she was that dying is never the end of the story, just the middle. How the good guys win and the hero does saves the day and the gut wrench that comes with saying good-bye only hurts from this side of the chapter.
I have almost every one of her books.
They line my house with memories of how we tried to unravel the mysteries of love and death and the life to come.
We searched for truth in every nook and cranny of every story, no matter how unlikely the source.
Because we were convinced that the Logos resides in every tale, every dream, every bit of broken truth that is merely a shard of mirror reflecting back the Word that sustains all things.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-4.
He is both my once upon a time as well as my happily ever after and I scour stories in search of the Word.
Sometimes in the dark of movie theaters, sometimes in the wrinkled pages of books that are as familiar as old friends, and sometimes at my computer screen reading your heart. Everything I read – everything – testifies that we are made in His image, an image cracked down the center and in desperate need of repair. We cannot eat our way there, we cannot travel our way there, we cannot love our way there, we cannot hope our way there …..
we can only surrender.
And let Him complete the work– the story– that He began in us.
“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.” — C.S. Lewis (The Horse and His Boy)