Walk, look back, move on.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
All people have stories—cairns. But, not all stories see the light of day. Like when you walk along a trail and see a cairn and wonder. Without a context—a story— it’s just a nice pile of rocks. Some stories stay locked in safe places under restricted access and reserved for a narrow audience. For some of our stories, this is probably best.
Events, actions, words, deeds, you name them, whatever and wherever, our piles of rock, still communicate. Because we interpret the present and future events through these stories, you know the ones you tell yourself. The stories that eventually percolate through behavior, when we react strongly to events or people. When we didn’t get the job, promotion, opportunity, whatever we thought we should have received. Or when a particular event occurs, disagreements with spouse, friends, or others. We look-back and search for the matching cairn and internally recount it, ruminate—generally accompanied by internalized words such as; always, never, or some other absolute statement. Then we build. We construct a more prominent cairn reinforced by our view of these events. Sound familiar? Does it have to be this way? No. There is One who knows the story behind the cairns, even the hidden ones.
He knows your story
Jesus knows them all, and he is waiting for us. Recall how Jesus met another traveler and how he redirected her story? Jesus, on his way to Galilee, stopped, and sat next to a well. (Jn. 4:4-6)A Samaritan woman came to draw water about mid-day. Jesus begins the dialogue with a request, “Give me a drink of water.” From here, he started his discussion, eventually leading the woman in the direction of the Messiah—Him. How? Through his-story and her story and the intersection of the two. She proclaims, “when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus responds, “I who speak to you am He.” (vs. 25-26)
What does she do? She leaves her water pot, runs into the city, and proclaims she has met the Messiah. Why? Because she met the One who had told her of all the things she had done. (v. 29) One who knew her story and changed her life. Jesus, the Messiah. He re-framed her story in love and compassion and used it to set her free. She was free, indeed. The Gospels are replete with re-framed stories. Cairns show the compassion and mercy of God.
And He does that for us—his light shining in our darkness, His-story and our story. When we face difficult times, we look back at our cairns. The stories associated with our journey. The difference is when we carefully examine them when we look at them from a different perspective. Don’t they take on a broader meaning—purpose? Despite the event, regardless, He accepts us: faults and all, irrespective of the past. And together, we construct a different cairn, our God-story.
After we meet with Jesus, our stories take on a different significance. When we leave our stories with Christ and re-frame the event and let go of the hurt and disappointments, we receive comfort and healing from our Father in Heaven, and He gives without reproach. When the rains come—they will—we should look back and re-frame the story, change the narrative, and internal dialogue, focus on His nature, His consistency. We can then build a cairn and proclaim as the Samaritan woman, “He told me all the things I have done,” (v. 39) tell our new story, reach out to others, and move-on: His-story, our God-story repeats. Walk, look back, move on.