A group of kids and our Pastor just returned home from a trip to New Orleans and the National Youth Gathering held there. Some insane amount of teenagers- like 25,000 or more- all gather and mingle and study and praise and worship together. It sounds like an amazing, albeit intense experience, and last Sunday's church service was filled with stories and lessons learned from the trip.
During the sermon, our Pastor asked a great question that I have been thinking about all week: who is the hero of your life story?
First of all, for the last few years it is hard for me to even conceptualize my life as a story, or narrative, at all. The days are a blur of growing children, housework, pregnancies, meals, activities, and friends. The days so melt into one another that it is difficult to step back and say the year or years have a beginning, middle and end. That decisions have consequences that we can see. That we are moving forward or backwards. Because so much energy is used to push through the day and get it all done, and hopefully by bedtime everyone in your house is fed, relatively clean and moderately happy.
I know: I reach for the stars.
But as I sat there in church on Sunday, I thought about it. Who is the hero of my life story?
Is it my grandmother, who endured all kinds of horrors in her life, sucked it all up and changed the course of our family tree? She came from another land, assimilated, worked, worked and worked some more.
Is it my parents, who gave me such an amazing childhood and every opportunity to grow and learn? They moved me from where they were comfortable to the best school district they knew, worked and saved and worked and saved some more; they were the first generation of their families to go to college and sought more and better for their children. They loved and supported us and made us believe we could do anything.
Is it my husband, my Danny, whose loyalty and steadfastness know no bounds? He gets up before dawn each day, works at his office, works at home, works with anyone who needs help and provides love and stability and fun and order to our day. The best years of my life have been with that man, who can see what our family needs and then just makes it happen.
Is it my friends? A group of women so smart and so funny and so kind and loving? They provide the fun, the love, the support that keeps me going day in and day out.
Is it my children, whom I would gladly give my life for over and over, whom makes me strive to be the best person I can be? They give me purpose; they have caused me to grow more than any other experience in my life; they are full of life and energy and love and laughter. I would be just an empty shell of the person I am today without them.
Could it possibly be ME? Am I the hero of my own life story?
How 21st century-thinking is that?
The point of the sermon is this: God is the hero of your life story. No matter who you are or what you do or what decisions you make or where you end up in life, God has been beside you, holding you up, blessing you with your parents and husbands and friends and children, challenging you with losses and fears and roadblocks, and loving you every single moment. He saves you from yourself.
God has been there all along.