A witness from God can be relied upon. As you read our thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, we invite you to obtain a witness for yourself. If something we say or imply does not ring true, then you should feel no obligation to accept it. Life is an individual and unique journey with God. Although we can help and encourage each other, we need to be careful not to come between God and another person.


Wednesday, April 10, 2024

I Am the Asshole in the Story

Most have a story to explain the events and circumstances in their life. Let me tell you the story of one sleepy-eyed traveler. [based on a true story]

It had been a long 48 hour day. Taxi cabs, trains, and now the airport. Thoughts raced through her mind as she listened to the boarding gate agent, “What? Airplane delayed again . . . for how many hours? . . . " She had been away from home too long, and was all too anxious to be safe at home.

She was dazed as she talked to the agent and knew she needed to concentrate to keep her wits about her. Her purse was slung safely over her shoulder, and she tucked her travel bag between her and the counter she leaned against. She didn’t want to lose track of the few essentials she still had. 

The agent was kind and helped her book another flight to replace the one she would miss because of the delay. She walked to the kiosk and took the opportunity to sign in early for the flight. There was a little time before boarding the plane, so she sat down and tried to get some rest. 

She reached down to put her hand on her bag, keeping it from walking off while she slept. It was gone! She’d been so careful to keep track of it, and now it was gone. Adrenaline kicked in as she looked around. In a panic, she frantically searched for her bag. As she scurried about, she thought, “Why would someone just take my bag with all the security cameras watching every move of every passenger?” 

She reported her loss to the security guard, and he seemed sympathetic to her predicament. He even helped her assess the situation, and together they determined that one of those asshole foreign tourists must have taken her bag. She carefully retraced her steps searching the area. The security guard even allowed her to leave the secured area to check the shuttle buses that were full of foreign tourists. 

The bag wasn’t impressive, but it contained the essentials she needed. She went back to her seat, cursing her stupidity and the unknown foreign tourist. She prayed and mourned as she sat in mental anguish waiting for her flight. Heroically she forgave her enemy and thanked God for her passport, cash, and credit card that were safe in the small purse she held at her side. Her favorite jacket and other essentials could be replaced. 

Finally, it was time to board the plane. As she walked with other passengers toward the gate, she walked by the check-in kiosk. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Sitting on a little bench between the wall and kiosk was her precious lost bag. It was right where she left it. No one had touched the bag during her panic-filled hour. There was no thieving, asshole, foreign tourist; just a tired, absent-minded woman who forgot where she left her bag. 

None of it was real. She felt like an idiot. All that fuss for nothing. She looked around, and no one seemed to notice her stupid blunder. No harm was done to anyone. As she sat back to consider the experience, she thought, “How many times have I convinced myself I am right when I am plainly wrong?”

People often make up stories to explain what’s happening in their life. We’ve all done it. The stories we tell ourselves may be true, but most often they are false. Our stories usually turn us into the good guy or the undeserving victim and make someone else the villain. Our opponent might also have a story to tell. It would be rare if these stories ever sounded like the same event. When we are disturbed by the events in our life, it is tempting to expand our audience by telling our stories to others. When we do, we feel better, and our story becomes more real. We feel validated. Like the sympathetic security guard, other people might even help us create a more convincing story. 

What would happen if we questioned our stories, noticed when we justify our actions, and paid attention to our defensiveness? What if these are actually signs indicating we are somehow wrong? What if an alarm was set to go off in our mind . . . ding! ding! ding!? I see I am defensive, I am justifying, I am making up stories, therefore, I might be wrong.


If we were to make ourselves look like the asshole in our defensive self-justifying stories, we would probably be closer to seeing the truth and could do something about it. 

I looked at a story I’ve been telling myself for over a decade. I blamed others, I blamed my state of mind, I blamed my circumstance. I had such a great story that I believed it myself. Well, I almost believed it. Then one day last week while I was at peace with myself, on a walk with my dogs, in an open meadow, I looked at my old story from a different perspective. When I could see clearly, I could only say, “I was wrong.” I don’t know what I can do to change the past, but there are no excuses. I asked the Lord to forgive me. I don’t ever have to tell that self-justifying story again, and if I do, it will be from the perspective, "I am the asshole in the story." 

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