I’d love to know how what I do has affected others. I’d love to hear how some letter that I wrote to someone gave them the courage to text an old childhood friend. And that childhood friend might have been praying for a sign about whether to take a particular job or not. And this seemingly random phone call prompted them to stay put in their current job, discontent as they might have been. And as a result of staying put, they met their future spouse and led half a dozen people to the Lord.
It’d be nice to know.
But I realize that I’d be tempted to give myself credit for this wonderfully synchronized chain of events, or perhaps think the eloquence of my writing was the source of the power to make such influential changes, when in fact my letter might have only kept that certain someone from their usual TV show and because the TV show was skipped they decided to sort through old family photos and in the photos was a picture of the aforementioned childhood friend. The driving action might’ve stopped there save for a sermon preached the previous Sunday where a pastor told a story about how he’d recently contacted an old childhood friend and found him divorced and bankrupt. And in recollection of this story in the middle of sorting through family pictures, that certain someone picked up a phone and contacted the childhood friend.
But seeing as things are in this life, I’ll never know what events and seemingly random happenstances caused the saving of souls or the first meetings of future spouses or the forgiveness needed within a family or the courage to do something beautifully sacrificial. I’ll not know this side of Heaven because I am stuck behind blind eyes that see only what relates to me, and besides, I haven’t the time to discover all the details of what happened to others. I’m not discouraged because of this. Because even if I were to ask others the right questions to learn how magnificently woven together our stories are, the people I would ask probably wouldn’t remember all the details themselves. Our very mortal minds fail us.
But I have hope in the forever afterwards when our minds will remember and our time will allow for us to discover the grand story again and again and again in every person’s life, in their friendships and vocations and spouses and children and homes. And when I hear of the grand story, I won’t even be slightly tempted to give myself credit. Rather, I will marvel at how Providential it was that God made me love to write. How marvelous that He gave me this hobby that I can’t help but do lest I explode!
But until the forever afterwards, until I can do such, thank God for authors because when we can't imagine how all this mess must work to something beautiful, we have the attempts of authors to show how it might. These artists weave together imaginary characters, events, places, and things to make something grand occur. I love what they do. And I marvel at how the Great Author’s story will be even more fabulous than this.
I’ve recently put up a collage of pictures on my living room wall. I meant to display beautiful moments throughout my married life, but naturally what I intended didn’t get in the way with what those pictures have now become to me. The symbol of the Great Story. The visual reminder that those moments of beauty, pain, joy, and work have a purpose in my own development, in other’s development, and in the development of that grand plot that I await to discover.