Ray's Current Newspaper Article
What Do You Really Do?
Words are a big way that I make my living but there was a day I feared I wouldn’t have the words I needed. Let me explain. Words play a big role with what I do from the occasional newspaper article to sermons to leadership meetings. So, I’ve been facinated by words for quite awhile whether from the phrasing of a comedian, the inspirational words of a leader or the cleverly written line in a movie. A few months ago the lyrics from an ol’ country song stopped me in my tracks. The song, That’s My Job by Conway Twitty which is a wonderful story of a Father and son. The bulk of the song weaves from a frightened young boy to a teenager with the Father explaining, he will always will be there for him. The writer of the song says it this way:
And he said "That's my job, that's what I do. Everything I do is because of you, to keep you safe with me. That's my job, you see."
More than a job...that was the Dad’s role and it was just what he did. Beautiful. But, it’s how the song ends that got me. You see, my Dad passed away about 4 months ago and I’ve not been the same since. Don’t get me wrong...I have so much to be thankful for but it’s very hard. Being that I’m the guy that comes up with words, I was asked to come up with a program for the funeral. What I didn’t want was just informaiton. I wanted inspiration. I wanted to capture my Dad, capture how so many of us felt about him and even point people toward the Lord. But, as you could imagine, I wondered how I could come up with the right words just days after my Father passed away. As the songs closes, the Father has passed away and the son, who writes songs, has to come up with a song for his Dad. The song closes with these words:
But I say, "Daddy I'm so afraid. How will I go on, with you gone this way. How can I come up, with a song to say, "I love you." That's my job, that's what I do. "That's my job, that's what I do. Everything I do is because of you, to keep you safe with me. That's my job, you see."
Clever. Moving. You can see how this made me think of my Dad. But, interestingly, it also made me think of my heavenly Father. How, you ask? I remember being 27 years old and knowing very little of how the God, Jesus stuff worked and where I fit in the picture. What I did seem to have a feeling of, for the first time, was that I was deeply ashamed of how I lived my life. With that, I felt helpless to make up for all the wrong I had done. I even felt like I needed to somehow pay for it. That’s when I heard the story of Jesus, the cross and the coming back to life. It felt like He acknowledged in my heart that someone did have to pay for my wrongdoing. At the same time, it’s as if He whispered into my heart, “That’s my job. That’s what I do.”
Well, something changed in me that day and I’ve been the same. Over time I started to realize that He had a role for me that began with handing Him my life. After that, a big part of my role had to do with words. He wanted me to use words to help people find the roles the Lord had for them. Some of these words were spoken and some of them would be written. Some would be placed in one on one conversations or in sermons. Others would be set in newspaper articles...or even in a program for my Dad. Well, how did it come out...the program? It came out just as I had hoped. So, how was it possible for me to come up with the right words just days after my Dad passed? Well, that’s my job.
Your 10 Year Old Self Is Kicking You.
This isn’t an article...I have an idea to share with you. Question: When have the most memorable stories occured in your life? Okay, that would probably take more mental energy and time than you have so let me help.
Years ago, my buddy Gary and I had what we refer to as, “The Summer of Fun.” Truth is, this was before the Lord changed my life and I was involved in a whole lot of wild stuff. You probably don’t know my story so I’ll just say I that on a Friday, I left work inviting people to party. The next Monday, I was inviting people to church. Even though some of what I did was not good, that Summer is still the Summer of Fun to me. We were single and unnatacched so from 5:00 pm Friday to Sunday evening, we just did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. One weekend, we decided that it would be fun to just eat Taco Bueno the entire weekend. And you know what...it was fun. The best part of it is that now, 17 or so years later, we still tell that story. It wasn’t life altering, it was just fun and it was also memorable. Do you know why it happened? Well, we ate Taco Bueno on Friday night and then we went and hung out. We skipped breakfast and when it came time to eat lunch - someone said, “Muuchaacooo!” This was our caveman sort of way of saying, let go eat muchacos at Taco Bueno. Somewhere around this time, one of us said, “Do you know what would be fun? If we just ate Taco Bueno all weekend.” A story was born.
Here’s what I’m thinking - our most memorable stories don’t just happen to us like we are innocent bystanders hit by stories. In everyday life, I believe that the most memorable stories are entered into. Now, we don’t know when we are entering memorable stories but we must be willing to enter them. Someone says something like: “Do you know what would be fun?” “How about we get our families together?” “Could you help me with this?” “I really think you should just go for it?” “How about you come check out my church?” From here, stories are often born.
Here’s the problem - As we get older, our preferred answer seems to be - “No.” Well, we don’t say it. Instead we say things like: “Another time.” “I’m busy.” “Are you kidding? That’s too much Bueno for my belly.” Let me ask you a question: How often do you spend time thinking about stories you should’ve said entered into?
So, here is my idea: How about you decide to intentionally look for stories and enter into them?
Listen, if you are like me, when people are telling stories, you want to be able to tell your own. You want to laugh hard, help people, have some adventure, try new things and encourage other people to do the same. We both want positive stories that build us up rather than tear us down. Hear me, life is too short to miss it while you are living it. So, let your 10 year old self give you a kick in the pants to get you going. Don’t think too hard about not knowing where to start either. What we are talking about can be done in every area of your life with the people who are part of it (both small and big things). The more you do it, the better you get at doing it. All you need are: Other people (the best stories are shared stories). A willingness to do things with and for people. The courage to say something like, “You know what might be fun?”
You might think that if you tried to get others to want to do stuff, it would’t work. Really? Well, my friend, it just worked with you. Now go...your stories are waiting and your 10 year old self is cheering you on.
By Ray Miranda
Pastor of The STORY Church - Wylie