Sitting down at my desk, I retrieved the tattered notebook. I blew off dust and brushed away a piece of lint that had somehow been embedded where spiraled wire met the paper. With a deep sigh, I took hold of the outer edge and opened the pages. The dates were old. It had been a long time since I had picked up this notebook and even longer since I'd reread anything I'd written.
My fingers found their way to the pen sitting perfectly straight on the desk. I always kept it that way. Everything was always in its place. Even my life. I couldn't tolerate any twists or unexpected u-turns. No, I'd always kept my life on an even keel. I was the one in control.
I scanned the notebook with increasing interest. I had written some pretty interesting stuff. My graduation from kindergarten...my first car. There hadn't been a cleaner car in town, nor anyone that could out-parallel park me.
I turned the page.
There had been boyfriends. Fights with my family. Deaths and friends that came and went. Life had been harder than anticipated. But I never did let anyone tell me how to run it. My life was mine - given to me at birth, and no one would ever take it from me.
A couple pages were stuck together and I worked to pry them apart. Hearing a tear, I inwardly groaned. So much for perfection. Now the notebook was marred. I decided a sliver of tape would rectify this mini emergency.
After doctoring the injured paper, I continued to read. I had gained a steady job where I would work for the next forty years. After refusing the man who asked me to marry him, I had lived alone. I moved to a neighborhood where I would spend the latter portion of my life grumbling about the mailman who never put my mail in the box straight, griping about the neighbor's cat who would come "visiting," and taking daily walks to pick up other people's trash they constantly ignored along the curbside.
I reached the last page of writing. I had stopped because there had been no new information. Each day had been the same - each routine unchanging. The life I had worked so hard to keep neat and tidy had become just that - void of any wrinkle, crease or stain. But as my life was nearing the end, I still lacked anything more to write.
I fingered my patient pen while scouring my brain. But while the world had changed around me, my own little haven had always remained as I had intended: the same.
I closed the notebook and laid it aside. Here it is, God. My life. You asked to see it, but I don't know why. It's pretty boring...
As I watched, the pages turned again but not of my doing. Words were written between the lines with ink not of my pen. They started on page one and continued past the halfway point, over the new piece of tape, and through the last period I had dotted. The notebook closed once more and became eerily still.
For the first time, I was scared to read. But I had to see what God had written - the changes He had made. So after gathering my courage and straightening my pen again, I reopened the book. As my eyes read the new words, I was drawn into the revised scenes. God had added fellowship, friendships and reconciliation with my family. He had inserted scenes of vacations, time away from work, and time to find the love I'd always wanted.
My fingers stroked the fresh ink. God had written in the creases and wrinkles that caused tears and pain. But He'd also added the grace and peace that would have flooded my heart, had it been open to twists and turns along my journey.
As I reached the last page, I felt a sickening pang in my heart. Reading an edited version of my life, I realized just what I'd missed because of my rigid ideas. I'd had no flexibility. No allowance for change. No allowance for God to guide my life.
Brokenhearted, I stared at my notebook. I couldn't change the past. But I had a few more years left. Could I learn from an edited story in order to change my future?
I picked up my pen and began to write.
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