Have you ever seen those story books for children learning to read where on the left page they have several paragraphs of small writing, and on the right a sentence or two of one syllable words giving a very basic summary?
I finished up 2015 with a version of events in my mind much like right hand pages of those books. The story of the year was that it was hard, I was depressed, our family was ill a lot, and thank goodness it was over.
On New Years’ Eve, I went back to bed with a cup of tea and my journal and began thinking more carefully through the last twelve months. It was as if I had returned to an art gallery I’d previously only used for its tea room and taken time to properly look at the paintings. And looked at the paintings with a guide who saw what only the most insightful and educated experts would notice. I felt as though God was my guide as I reviewed last year, and what he showed me took my breath away.
I won’t bore you with the entire rewritten narrative of 2015. Suffice to say there are twists and turns, ups and downs, surprising and improbable interventions, the timely appearance of wise and kind people, goodness swirled into every single day. In my hurry to summarise and move on, I nearly missed it. As God showed me a fuller picture of last year, I nearly burst with gratitude. I have so much to be thankful for. A ridiculous pile of things.
I suppose my reason for writing this is partly to challenge you to take another look at the story you are telling about your recent past. Ask God to show you his version. Have you made any short cuts? Missed any key protagonists, moments of light relief or comedy? Are there developing themes you’ve written out because they don’t fit the direction you think you’re heading in? Life can be- often is- difficult and dark. But God is with us and if we write him out of the story, we are not telling the whole truth.