Monday, April 23, 2012
Everybody Has a Story...kinda like LOST
The whole first season, I couldn't figure out who the "good" or "bad" guys were. About the time I'd think I knew which side of the line a character was, we'd see a "flash back" and I'd be confused again. Seemingly sweet, Kate, turned out to be the convict who was being flown home for trial. Con artist, Sawyer, was just a mistrusting grown boy who was recovering from his parents murder/suicide. And soft spoken, single mom, Claire, became the Island lunatic!
Life is a lot like the weaving story lines of LOST. We formulate our first impressions of people from the limited information we know and decide privately whether they're a "good" or "bad" guy. Eventually, we start learning more of their background and are surprised to find a person, a story as compelling as any written book or television show.
How many of us have been misjudged by someone and wish we could just have another chance to show them who we really are? More importantly, how many times have I done that to people around me?!? This happened to me with a little German lady I met when we lived in Eastern Montana, named Berta. She spoke with a thick German brogue which made it nearly impossible for me to catch more than half of her words. Standing at maybe 5 feet, she was a intense force to be reckoned with. I was scared to death of her! This tiny little woman had me so intimidated, I decided I needed to do something about it. I don't like to be afraid, so I thought I better overcome it by getting to know her better. The German ladies of our congregation made a wonderful dessert called Kuchan-a kind of coffee cake with fruit. Ah ha! I'd ask her to teach me to make this. I called her and she drilled off the ingredients I should bring like gunfire, and told me what morning I'd report to her house. Yes ma'am! Unfortunately, I didn't understand a good portion of what she told me. Needless to say, she informed me I hadn't brought the right "kind" of ingredients. Cream wasn't just cream, but a specific type. Yeast wasn't just yeast, but should have been rapid rise yeast!
"You know nothing of making Kuchan!" she said as she tossed her arms in the air and shook her head.
"Berta, that's why I'm here. I want you to teach me," I said, hoping she couldn't hear my knees knocking together. Then, she stepped right under my chin, put her finger out and told me, "When we are through here, we'll either be the best of friends or the worst of enemies."
"I hope we're friends," I managed to eek out. I think I was crying on the inside, but too terrified to breath, let alone tear up.
As we sat and waited for my very, very slow rising yeast to rise, she told me her story. This woman had been through more than I could have ever imagined! Her first husband had been killed during the war, and all she received was a note. "No body. No explaining. No nothin'," she cried. "Your generation knows nothing of hardship," she continued. She escaped Germany during the nights, carrying her sickly 2 year old, stealing potatoes from farmer's fields. Those around her told her to leave the boy, because they were sure he would die anyway. She told me she couldn't have lived with herself if she'd of done that. He lived, thanks to her stubborn faithfulness. Reaching America wasn't the end of hardship. She spoke no English and had difficulties with the adjustments. No wonder Berta seemed like a drill sergeant on the outside-life had been horribly tough. Yet, through this all, she chose to follow a Savior who didn't rescue her from it, but went through it with all with her. Needless to say, I fell in love with this woman before my Kuchan was done baking. We'd bonded over her kitchen table all because she was willing to share her story. It was not an easy story for her to tell.
Everyone has a story. Share yours with someone. You never know what could happen...an unlikely friendship may develop. It could even change someone else's life!