I was invited to give my testimony at church. I agreed. And then, in typical Blair fashion, I realized I had double booked my calendar, so I backed out. (I consistently score high marks on the Flake chart. Administration. Not my gifting. Bless my heart.)
But it got me thinking... (cause I do)... Testimony...
We all have them. Some are more "flashy" than others. Every one's testimony is fascinating to me, because I am a person totally in love with Story. Tell me a story! I will eat it up like candy. But... a testimony is kind of a bad story. It would make a bad book. Because there's no beginning/middle/end thing. Nope. A testimony is a moving picture. There's no place to stop and put your finger down and say, "There's the end of that chapter. That's the moral of that story. There's the tidy conclusion at the end of that bumpy road." It's just not that neat.
Random Morbid Example:
Woman gets cancer. Woman gets treated. Cancer goes into remission. Woman has victory!
Nope. Maybe Woman gets cancer again... and again...
Maybe woman gets hit by a car and dies in a seemingly senseless way at a seemingly senseless time?
Maybe woman goes on to seemingly waste her life... and the cancer event was kind of the highlight?
What happens to Testimony then?
What happens to testimony when it isn't linear? When it isn't neat? When it doesn't build to a resounding crescendo of strength! Or a deplorable defeat? When it's hard to tell if the main character in the story is a good guy or a bad guy? When everything is kind of... grey? What happens to Testimony when the story... just... meanders? When it does the "ups and downs" thing? When it quietly wanders in obscurity without a tidy "The End" to inspire others?
Every once in a while something MASSIVE happens. Some pivotal event irrevocably alters the way I tell my story, the way I see my story, the way I step into my story... but that's rare.
A year after my son was born, the fabric of my entire life's work/identity/focus/way of living/goals/dreams/sense of worth/etc had been shattered. All my dreams for myself had been taken from me. I had failed all my systems for measuring my own success. All my vision had been smothered. I literally couldn't see my way into the future.
Every day seemed like an eternity because I had no hope... no where to fix my vision...
Every night I would sob raggedly because I had no life left inside me to give to the next day.
I wanted to die.
That was a staggering place to be.
That was a pivotal time.
That was massively story forming.
That shaped me in ways I am still uncovering two and a half years out.
BUT... Most of the time Story is quiet and daily.
Most of the time Story is simply us walking through the fall out of those bomb shell moments... navigating the detritus of identity and trying to see the links in the paragraphs, however hazy they may be. Trying to understand... What is my testimony?
Sometimes I think I can put my finger on it.
1. There was my failure.
2. There was my victory.
3. There is my Testimony.
Then my weaknesses and idols rear their heads yet again and I realize, "Oh, dear little sister, you have not come so far at all." Here are my failures. Here are my victories. Here is my Testimony.
Can we take Testimony back from the Hollywood standards of story telling?
Can we embrace our lives as Odysseys (with all their meandering, rising, falling) rather than expecting Oscars?
At the end (if we even see it coming at all) there may be things left unsaid, victories left unclaimed, character still unpolished. There may be storylines that never found tidy conclusions. There may be identity that hasn't coalesced. There may be conversations still unfinished. (If that doesn't irk your OCD, you're a calmer person than I.) But the Finish Line of this life is no ending at all. Only a chapter. A chapter full of paragraphs, full of sentences, full of lovely words full of nuance. Each day has a tale to tell. Each week has a drama unfolding. Each year brings another season. But it doesn't have to be linear to be blessed. Because the Lord of Story doesn't require polished manuscripts! He delights in the potential of rough drafts.
One day I will get my calendar properly organized and share my testimony before my Church family.
Maybe I'll go after someone with one of those raw and shocking tales that make you shake your head and say, "What a miraculous redemption!"
Maybe I will stand up next and suddenly my little drama (which seemed so big to me) will seem small and simple and easy by comparison?
I would like that... my little drama is small.
And yet, His eye is on the sparrow.
As it dips in the sky and turns its wings to the wind.
As it hoards seed and is buffeted by shifting weather.
One little life. Full of punctuation... weaving a narrative which is never done until it's done.
His eye follows this... The tiniest of testimonies. And it follows mine. And whatever story is written, no matter how incomplete, is blessed because he read it and smiled.