(Today’s prompt for the My500Words challenge is: Tell someone else’s story.)
As a preacher, I tell Someone Else’s Story all the time. I don’t have anything worthwhile to say, but the Someone Else that I tell about has a lot to say! The issue is whether or not I’m telling that Someone Else’s Story in a way that He would approve.
On the other hand, there is another aspect to my life practice of telling someone else’s stories. When we tell someone else’s stories, we are limited because we know how those stories turned out. We know where the twists are. We are aware that what seemed to be crucial turning points when the stories were first told have become familiar and expected. Those turns have almost become clichés in many circles.
The other problem we have with telling someone else’s stories is that we become accustomed to thinking our stories should turn out like their stories did. If it worked that way for someone else, we reason, then it should work that way for me, too. We are often disappointed for we feel entitled to walking the paths that others have walked and ending up at the same destination.
If Someone Else fed the dejected prophet by miraculous means, then we expect He should do that for us, too. When the sick woman gets better immediately, we are troubled if our own disease doesn’t miraculously resolve. When the lions don’t have a snack, and when the fire doesn’t consume, we assume our experiences should reflect that reality. If struggles with illness, famine, and other dire circumstances turned out well for those others, then my struggles should have the same result.
And there’s the thing about telling someone else’s stories. While I have someone else’s stories to teach me principles and guide me to Someone Else’s truth, the fact is I’m me.
With my own story.
I’m not someone else. I can’t exit my existence and live in someone else’s reality. I can’t walk the way they walked. I have to live my story. I have to face my struggle and look for Someone Else’s lessons in my circumstances.
The good news is that Someone Else – who has worked in someone else’s stories before – is still in business. Someone Else’s Story is ongoing, and I get the incredible opportunity to jump into The Story and write a line or two. Whitman wrote:
…the powerful play goes on, and and you may contribute a verse.
What verse will I write today? How will I contribute to the Story Someone Else is writing? Will my verse, my lines, be a worthy addition? Where will my story take me today?