“I truly believe that people are looking for stories that really mean something–stories that are redemptive, inspiring, and bigger than an individual.” -Scott Harrison
During this season leading up to Easter, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance and the power of stories as well as the role faith plays in the formation of our stories.
Recently, my mother gave me a large-print Bible I’d given to one of my aunts when her eyesight began to fail. Today, I was using that Bible to search for Scriptures related to Easter.
I found a passage my aunt had circled in pencil. I recognized her trademark handwriting in the margin where she’d penciled in the words: “To God be the glory!”
The words that obviously caught my aunt’s attention in a special way were ones Jesus spoke to his disciples during his last week on earth.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”(John 14: 1 & 2 NKJV)
Reading this familiar passage reminded me that my faith pivots on the story of Easter—a story that promises not only earthly redemption but also eternal life. Reading the words Jesus spoke to his friends during his final days also ignited memories of a remarkable conversation I had with my aunt during her final days.
All of my aunts have now passed, but I have warm memories of many who were remarkable women. I was particularly close to the aunt I’d given that large-print Bible.
Since childhood her life was marred by abuse, sadness and great loss, but nevertheless, my aunt embraced the days she’d been given with great gusto.
She was bright, talkative, funny. Her laughter was spontaneous and hearty. She loved words, even as I do. As a child, I recall sitting mesmerized as she’d recite long poems from memory. I still remember my anticipation as she began one of my favorites—The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow…
On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman…
She was also a master gardener. Every spring, her house became a disaster because for many weeks, she put aside household chores in order to spend hours each day preparing her garden, which would yield bountiful crops of veggies all summer and fall. She especially loved flowers, and her small house was surrounded with many varieties.
When my aunt was dying, I went to the nursing home to spend time with her. I knew she probably wouldn’t remember me, but I needed to spend some time in her feeble presence remembering how her life had impacted mine.
She woke briefly. I rose from the vinyl chair in which I’d been sitting to stand by her bedside. “How are you doing?” I inquired. With a twinkle in her eye she told me how nice everyone was to her and how a team of men were getting a cute little house ready for her to move into. With trademark animation, she explained every room in the house was going to be decorated in a different way and there would be so many flowers. The frail woman whose life was ebbing away seemed beyond excited!
I know many would dismiss her words as merely the ramblings of a dying person. I wonder. Is it possible my aunt was given a little preview of the Heavenly home being prepared for her? Could it be that one of those ‘mansions’ Jesus spoke of to his friends is a cute little house surrounded by massive beds of ruffled peonies, jewel-toned zinnias, and every imaginable variety of fragrant rose?
Reflecting on the story of my aunt’s life and death reminds me of the significance of the Easter story. Like these little crocuses popping up from our flower bed’s cold, barren soil this spring, Easter brings new life.
Easter promises the pages of my story don’t end when my journey on earth is finished.
We all have a story. By now, you’re probably aware that I treasure every story I’m privileged to hear.
Today, I conclude in a way I never have before that no story is more ”redemptive, inspiring and bigger” than the story of Easter.
Blessings as you consider how the story of Easter impacts the “bigger” story your life can tell…
Listening on YOUR Journey:
Scott Harrison said he believes people want to hear stories that are redemptive, inspiring, and bigger than an individual.”
- What is a story you’ve heard that seemed “bigger” than an individual and inspired you to live a “bigger” life?
- If your life story contains dark, difficult, conflict-filled pages, imagine in what ways the redemption of those pages could bring inspiration to others.
- To read more about Scott Harrison’s inspiring story, see http://www.charitywater.org/about/scotts_story.php ↑