The Book of My Life
I was at the end. My life’s binding lay ripped, fallen in disdain. Misuse, harsh falls, and being trampled upon finally took its toll. As pages slowly tore away from the cover, they were blown and tossed about by the wind. No longer secure in the sanctuary that held them so close, whirlwinds and storms tossed the pages to and fro. The constant abuse from these storms tore away all meaning and left only disorder and senseless ramblings. Scattered, with no purpose, my pages possessed no hope of finding meaning – I lost sight of why I even existed. Entrapped in sorrow, I watched my life being blown about by the unrelenting storms of life. Occasionally, someone would stop and pick up a page to read bits and pieces of me that lay bare. They gladly conversed about the misdeeds on a certain page or the way my life seemed so disjointed. They never lent a hand, however, for they had troubles of their own; they still had pages left to write in their book. One particularly windy day, as more pages blew to and fro, a homeless man wandered up. Clutching his side, he reached down and retrieved a page of my book. Holding a tattered page with his gnarled hands, he read with a furrowed brow that radiated emotion. He seemed as if he was concerned about who I was or what I was doing. At times he laughed, other times he cried, and occasionally he bowed his head in shame and shuddered as he read what was upon the page. I felt ashamed that a stranger could see all of me for who I really was. Who did he think he was, that he could violate me by reading what I could no longer hide? Who is this homeless man that masquerades as if he cares for my bedraggled life that struggles to find meaning? And yet he continued: reading, crying, laughing as if he were an old friend of mine. After reading one page, he would fold it neatly, place it in his threadbare coat and pick up another page. He continued reading, until there were no more pages left. Slowly, he began to place all of the pages in order, straightening the crumpled sheets and cleaning those that had been trampled upon. Working diligently, he sorted the pages, numbered them, he even found the pages that were lost and mended those that were torn. As he finished sorting them, he placed them in a new cover that had my name in gold letters. How did he know my name? Why does he care about the pages of my life?
“Stop!” I cried. “Please just go away. You have no right to do this. You have embarrassed me long enough. I feel violated, so exposed, and now you are trying to sort my life as if you know better than I. Are you going to steal these pages? What are you doing with them?” His puzzled look seem to unnerve me even more. He left the book where I lay and started walking off.
“Where are you going?” I screamed. My desperate cries were to no avail, as he continued walking away. “Please. . ,” I stammered, “Please just tell me your name.” He turned around and looked upon me with a long, wistful stare. He was not smiling, yet something seemed hopeful in his forlorn countenance.
“I am . . .I am the one who knows what each word says. I know how the chapters sometimes seem disjointed and how you long for a plot that will give you more meaning in life. I know. I’ve read them all. But more importantly, I am the one who wrote the preface to your life’s book. And if you look closely, you can see me in every chapter thus far. You can see me if you look past those words of pain, laughter, and neglect. If you can get rid of the things that consume you and not worry about what may lie on the pages to come you will find me throughout.”
“But this is my book. This is mine. How dare you take what is mine and write upon its pages.” Again I felt invaded as if he did something innately wrong. “This isn’t fair. How do you know what is best for me?” I tried to assail him with more questions but none would come. A flood of confusion and doubt brought tears that drowned out my anger and conflicting feelings. I managed to dislodge the lump in my throat and cried weakly, “What are you? An author?”
“No. I am the canon,” he replied. At this, he turned and walked away, disappearing into the grey twilight. The sound of his shuffling feet and the winter air seemed to resonate through the stillness of the moment. That whole night I could not sleep. Restlessness consumed me as I now held a treasured novel instead of being worried about lost pages, wildly driven by the storms of change. Amazed, I flipped open the book and started to read my story. Although familiar, it was different. For once I could see purpose – and if I did look past the things I wished to forget that were printed upon the pages, I could see an unforgettable calm. I looked up to heaven seeking answers for who this man was and I longed to know him like he knew me. If only he could write the chapters to follow. Could he really know how this book ends or be able to brace me for the tale that follows? Gazing upward, I recited the words to his preface, finding comfort at each word . . .
“I am. What follows on these pages is a work of my penmanship. I knew you before you were knitted in your mother’s womb and I know the number of hairs on your head. I have for you a purpose and a hope. You have such a bright future that I have painted; at times this book will be suspenseful, terrifying, joyful and exciting. But know that each page is saturated in peace and that with each pen stroke and page turned, I will be there to sit beside you as you experience the chapters to come. With the same hands that carved out this universe, I will hold you up. With the same hands that have your name written in the palms, I will gently wipe your tears away when life mistreats you. With the same back that was whipped and scourged for your transgressions, I will bear your burdens. With the same heart that was broken by the anguish of your sins, I will love you beyond comprehension. I love you. Always. From beginning to end I will love you, nurture you, and hold you. I love you.”
— Jesus Christ