“You live beautifully storied lives.”
Enuma Okoro spoke those words near the end of her second, and final, keynote for the Buechner Writing Workshop a couple of months ago. I confess that I wasn’t familiar with her writing before she spoke the day before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But by the time I heard her speak her closing words, I had discovered what a reliable witness she is, not only to the writing life, but also to the life of faith.
Throughout her presentations, she offered words that were both beautiful and true. And she embodied the kind of grace that shows up as the confidence that you admire in someone, the kind that draws you close so that it can share whatever gift it knows it has received.
During her final keynote, I kept glancing at my watch, not because I wanted the time to pass, but because I wanted it to stand still. As her keynote’s end approached, just before her final words, Enuma spoke that line from above, “You live beautifully storied lives.”
I sat transfixed, lost in the simple beauty of her reminder of something I realized I had forgotten.
And then the one whose words over the past two days had drenched me in grace, ended with her clearest blessing of all:
“May you go with the grace of remembering that your story is still unfolding.”
I had no idea how much I needed to hear those words.
Maybe you need to hear them too.
Are you living through something now that tempts you to believe that your life is anything but a beautiful story?
Do you look back and see the places where you wish you had chosen a different action or spoken a better word?
Are you paralyzed by the ways you know you have failed yourself or someone you love?
Or do you ever fear that your best story is behind you?
Our stories are never as straightforward as we wish. Or as clean as the ones we convince ourselves the smiling ones around us are living.
And maybe that’s where the grace of Enuma’s blessing does its work.
Because whatever you are living through now, whatever story hangs like a screenshot upon your life, whatever moment you are certain is the only one that anyone thinks of when they think of you, it is not the end.
Because if you are able to read these words, your story is still unfolding.
If you know your heart is beating even it’s only because you feel it breaking, your story is still unfolding.
If you’re searching for something and you don’t even know exactly what it is you seek, your story is still unfolding.
As you journey along whatever path you travel this day, your story is not over. It is still unfolding.
I’m still coming to realize what a gift Enuma’s blessing gave that roomful of storied lives. But that’s the thing about a blessing. You don’t have to understand it all at once, or ever, to share it with someone else.
Therefore, “May you go with the grace of remembering that your story is still unfolding.”