What Does Editing Our Stories Look Like?
About a month before I met Dan, I came across a quote from Susan Statham:
Your life is a story. Write well. Edit often.
This quote gave me pause. How does the editing process work?
There are bleak chapters in Dan’s and my earlier stories that included significant loss. Neither of us had a choice when cancer invaded our spouse’s health, our homes, our routines.
But we both had choices in how we reacted and lived forward with those irreversible things.
The key to editing, I think, is to consider all the hard and holy moments from God’s perspective. Paul addressed this in a letter to believers in the ancient city of Philippi:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. — Philippians 4:8
This word think can be translated as, “to take an inventory, conclude, reason, think (on).”
We edit the adverse events in our lives by taking inventory of all that has transpired.
We edit by choosing to see our hard places through God’s lenses as we look for the true and lovely that will surely accompany the heart-breaking.
And we edit by capturing our reasoned thoughts. (Pretty sure I saved my first husband thousands of dollars in psychotherapy costs simply by keeping a journal.)
Henri Nouwen penned these thought-provoking words:
Our pains and joys, our feelings of grief and satisfaction, are not simply dependent on the events of our lives, but also, and even more so, on the ways we remember these events.
God is a best-selling author and master storyteller. And He wrote a beautiful book about each of us.
Quite possibly there are some chapters you wouldn’t have written into your book. But with open and trusting hearts, can we say to our Creator, “Help yourself to my story”?
Sometime during that month before I met Dan, I journaled:
Now that I’m in a blissful, contented, brimming widowhood routine, I wouldn’t wonder if it’s time for some unsettling. Because getting pushed out of our comfortable places provides the opportunity to start the next chapter of our lives.
But what if that chapter doesn’t turn out exactly as planned? It won’t. What if I could edit and reframe it from God’s perspective? I could.
I can just hear God saying: ‘Be prepared for unsettledness ahead. Hold on for the ride. It’s going to get wild and fun and unnerving and surprising and scary and disruptive and astonishing.’
And then I met Dan.