Sometimes I want to be God. But it’s probably not why you think. I wish I could say it was for a noble cause: eradicating world hunger, bringing peace to all peoples, making sure every town had a curbside recycling program. But my reasons aren’t that virtuous. I just want to know people. I want to know their stories. I want to follow their life-long journeys.
I’m in Austin, TX, for some time alone to think and write. I ponder the almost century-old apartment in which I’m staying and all the different spirits who have made their way throughout this tiny place. Servants who were likely employed by the people who built the main house. College students attending the nearby University of Texas campus. All the people who’ve lived here over a hundred-year span. All their stories.
I peer through the darkness into the lit windows of a house two yards over. A young woman stands at a sink and a young man fiddles with a small box, both doing mundane life things like washing dishes and opening a store purchase. A few more twenty-something-looking-folks enter the room; one laughs and makes a dramatic gesture to another. I watch their everyday movements – it’s nothing exciting, really – and I wonder what their stories are. Which two people came together and created that man opening the box? Where was he born? Who cared for him as a child? Where did he go to school? Did he enjoy learning? Does he still? Was he kind to his classmates? Was he bullied? Was his first crush on a girl or a boy? Has he ever been in love? Where does he work? Does he like his job? Does he love humanity? Does he believe in God? I think about all those thousands of moments that are His Life…those smallest of interactions or most lingering of thoughts that have turned his heart down a new road, to or away from Love.
An endless amount of questions and answers contribute to his story. And of course there are a billion more people with a billion more stories, every one of them different. It’s mind-boggling. And I want to know them. All. THAT’S why I want to be God. I’m immensely intrigued by the omniscient factor. I want to know all those beautiful, heart-breaking, fascinating stories. As much as people can drive me nuts (admit it, they drive you nuts too), I’m captivated by them. I’m intrigued by what drives them to behave the way they do. I love watching people interact with their kids, even moreso with their parents. I love when friends share childhood anecdotes or open up about their quirky habits. Those interactions, anecdotes and quirks help me understand why someone is the way they are. And that understanding usually translates to more compassion and grace on MY part. Compassion and grace…very good things…agreed?
But we humans often seem to regard the details of our life stories as worth little, maybe because our faces aren’t plastered on magazine covers, we haven’t led an army into battle, we haven’t made the climb from poverty to politico, or because our stories haven’t been published in the form of best-selling books. Bullpoo. Yes, the drama of a rags-to-riches tale makes for an inspiring read. But most of life is just going through the motions: work to eat, eat to work, round and round. Intertwined with all that working and eating, though, are conversations and thoughts and glances and moments that are sculpting Your Story.
Most everyone I know seems ashamed to get into the minutiae of their life journeys. Too boring, they say…or too ugly. Usually one or the other. But what you think is boring or ugly tells me something about who you are. Your story is the ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND. Ever. In the history of all humanity. I find that jaw-dropping amazing. How you’ve come to be…Your Story…is owned ONLY by you. And that story is what’s made you who you are right now.
I wanna hear every one of those stories. But of course, I can’t. It’s humanly impossible. Because I’m actually NOT God ( in case you happen to be reading this while coming out of anesthesia). But there are others who want to hear your story too. I know. I’ve met them. Some of them are YOU. Find one of those people. Find a trustworthy someone who will hold your precious story gently. And tell them. Tell them over lunch or on a road trip. Write an email or an old-fashioned letter. At the very least, jot it down in a private journal; your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews will want to know someday. Just tell your story. Someone needs to know. Someone wants to know how you came to be YOU. Tell your trustworthy-someone all those seemingly boring or ugly details. Tell them how life is breaking you, how it’s remaking you. Watch their face light up like a window in a house two yards over when you share the one-and-only-story of you.