In the Bible, Genesis opens with a hopeful “In the beginning” and it ends in Revelation, with a fulfilling “Amen”. The start and finish of most things is definitive. Our lives are the same, because it starts and ends, but in the middle… that is where you make a difference.
Your God Story
The events in between the beginning and end is where you mark your significance. During morning devotion while I was in the ARMS mission, a pastor defined it as your God Story. It’s a story, like no other, because it is about your life. We all have one life to live… so in the days that we have in this Earth, we push day in and day out, to pack up events into our individual God stories.
How is your God story? At the culmination of your life, when you’re asked to talk about what you have accomplished, how will your story go? What do you think will God say about your life? And is there such a thing as a well-lived and fulfilled life? What if you lived short of what your life ought to be? Will you feel less proud of yourself and the life you lived?
Pastor said that thinking of life this way definitely let’s you see things from a different perspective. Since every person, place, thing and event becomes part of your personal GOD story, you have to make it more meaningful. Every moment of your life takes a page in your story, so you cannot take anything for granted. Are you taking the time to write a meaningful God story?
Writing My God Story
I meet many people. I am in a service oriented profession and the way I deal with people, will always have a ripple effect. The way I deal with patients, will come back to me, so I have a choice to be kind or to be otherwise. Some cases I see, especially in the clinic, can vary in terms of length of treatment. Some cases take some time, so it is only natural that I form bonds with these patients, but especially in the mission field–patients just come and go. When you come to think of it, there hardly is a time to make meaningful connections in the field. And if you know me quite well, you know that even though I am generally friendly and talkative, I am quite reserved.
I think I got it from my dad… because I don’t really have so many words for everyone. Basically, I am not one to enjoy “small talks”. As a matter of fact, I told my friend this one time… I have trouble with small talk. If you can engage me in a conversation by asking the right questions, I will keep going, but my talkativeness is quite selective. I have trouble throwing generic conversations around. I cannot ask you about your day or how you’ve been, because I’m not sure you’d like to tell me about it. I’m only comfortable handling information you freely give to me–so small talk, especially one that I have to initiate, is such a chore.
In the mission field and even in my own practice, I find it hard to make small talk. But in Tacloban, I got to sit with a grandma and shared a nice conversation with her. I don’t remember how it started or how it happened, but she suddenly talked to me about her life. She is 69 years old. She came with her grandchildren, who were also there for dental extractions (I worked on one of them) and she pointed to her youngest daughter, who was one of the volunteers working with us that day. We waved at each other. She went on with her narrative. She said she was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, and she pulled her shirt down slightly to show me her empty left bra (she’s had a mastectomy). As she was doing this, I was wondering why she felt she could open up to me, this way, but I just listened as she told me more about her life.
I asked her of her prognosis. She says it has been good for awhile now and that in June she is scheduled for another checkup. I said I’ll pray for her results and she said, “God is the only reason I’m still here today and I am so grateful for his love”. And as she said these words, she was gripping my hand and I felt it become tighter. I looked back, breathed deeply, and fought the tears. I looked back at her and said, “Let’s start?” because I didn’t want her to see me disarmed by her story. I got my tools and pulled the tooth without any struggle.
I usually devote very little time to small talk as I wait for the anesthesia to work, but I spent it differently with lola (grandma) that day. In mere seconds, I pulled her tooth out and gave her my post operative instructions. I wished her well, patted her on the back, but instead of turning back to leave she pulled me in for a hug… and so I hugged her back. “God bless you po”, I whispered and she turned to kiss me on my cheek. “Thank you doktora. Thank you”. And you know, I hardly did anything for her. The tooth I took out wasn’t even a hard case but her gratitude was deep and sincere.
In the rush of things, I forgot to check her name. But I couldn’t forget her. She, like all the people I come across with on a daily basis, is part of my God story. And in my ineptitude for small talk, I know God allowed for me to have that conversation with her. You see, when people see us arrive for the missions, they see us and they think that we come to them as a blessing from God–and as his workers, I guess we are. But these people fail to realize that we are blessed by their presence too. That lovely grandma thanked me, as if I did so much for her, but she doesn’t know that that she’s done so much for me.
And in the subject of small talk, I think I really have to improve on that. I know God wants me to. Pray for me.