There is something tremendously powerful about a good story.
We’ve been telling stories as long as we can remember – around campfires and in pictures on the walls of ancient caves; in pyramids and in long-winded scrolls, on paper, in person, in poetry, in song. Bards and minstrels, rock stars and movie stars, authors and bloggers – we are all so much more than entertainers; we are storytellers. And we tell our stories because we believe they matter. They remind us of where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. They remind us of things that are true when the true things feel less than true.
And when we hear good stories, they can take us places we’ve never been. We’ll find ourselves in them, even though they aren’t ours; they will become a part of our story. We’re changed by the hearing of these stories; we embrace images and words that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
These are the stories that give us hope on dark winter days that there is still light somewhere, that spring will come. These are the stories we want to hear over and over again.
Learning to read was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. So many stories have spoken to me over the years – but this week, I want to share with you seven fictional stories that have truly shaped my life.
A Ring Of Endless Light is one of several stories in L’Engle’s Meet The Austins series, all of which have something to recommend themselves, but this one is by far my favorite. Vicky Austin and her family are spending one last summer with her grandfather, who is dying of leukemia, and Vicky is forced to wrestle with some pretty big questions about life & death, faith & doubt, joy & grief – as she interacts with various people on the island, and witnesses the different ways her grandfather’s illness is affecting various members of her family. (There’s also a delightful subplot involving a research experiment with dolphins that balances out the story nicely.)
Vicky and her grandfather have some incredibly profound conversations throughout the book, but among other fantastic quotes, there is a line that has stuck with me for years. Her grandfather tells her, “God can handle your anger, Vicky.”
God can handle your anger.
What a profound truth.
I’m pretty sure I was in sixth grade the first time I read this story, and even then, there was something about that statement that resonated with me: God can handle your anger. He is neither intimidated, shocked, scandalized, nor even mildly surprised by it when we’re angry – in fact, He probably understands it a lot better than we do.Scripture doesn't tell us not to get angry. It tells us not to sin in our anger. There's a difference. Click To Tweet
And when you’re grieving a loss of any kind, anger is simply one of many emotions that constitute a normal and natural response. God can handle it. You can flat out tell God if/when you’re angry at Him. (He knows anyway, so why not save yourself the trouble of living in denial and just admit it?) Being straight up with Him about it isn’t going to change His opinion of you; He will still love you.
I haven’t always lived this out perfectly; there was a time in my life when I was afraid to admit it – to God or to myself – that I was angry at Him about anything. But ever since the watershed moment in which I truly realized that God loves me, I’ve felt so much more freedom to tell Him the truth about how I’m feeling – even when I’m incredibly angry. And He’s met me in those moments with so much compassion, and worked through it with me, every time. It’s been deeply transformational.
Which is how I know, even in the seasons where it feels like it is taking so much longer than in “should” to heal, that healing is coming.
God can handle your anger.
How would coming to a deeper understanding of that truth bring you greater freedom?
This post is part of a series entitled “Seven Stories That Have Shaped My Life.” Catch the rest of the series here.
Simple Felicity is, at its heart, a blog based on the unshakeable belief that happiness really isn't all that complicated. Sometimes finding it can be - but happiness itself is pretty simple, and it's often found in the simplest of things: good food, good books, and good company. So those are the things I write about, along with a few other things that really matter to me, including faith and feminism.
A bit about me: My name is Happy. I have an amazing talent for misplacing my keys, a deep appreciation for whomever looked at the coffee bean and thought, "Hey, I wonder what would happen if I roasted this?", and road trips to Michigan are pretty much my favorite.
Contact me anytime at simplefelicity7 (at) gmail (dot) com! I'd love to hear from you.
"If you focus on what you left behind, then how can you see what lies ahead?" —Chef Gusteau, "Ratatouille" via @momentumdash
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