Chapters of a beautiful story

I have often been asked how I can reconcile my faith with the loss of my brother. I have been questioned how my faith continues to grow despite the losses that I have survived. I guess to understand my answer to this, you should know that I am a bit of book nerd. As extraverted and outgoing as I am, I love to curl up in a big comfy chair and read a book. I love the whole experience of reading a book; learning and loving the characters, the twists and turns of the story, how each chapter can can lead you to a different view of the character, and how with each chapter, the characters’ whole story starts to form.

This is how I view my life. The whole story of my life, not just the individual chapters. Sometimes we can get stuck on the chapter and forget that there is so much more to the story. I am not downplaying the hard and tragic chapters of my story, but I am so thankful that they are only chapters. 

Even in these sadder chapters of my story, one thing always remains. In each chapter you can see God working in my life. We know that He is the author of all life but we also need to remember that He is the author of our lives. While we, the main characters of our stories, get to “choose our own adventures” (those were my favorite kind of books growing up), our story is still being written with His ink. 

I recently heard a song on the radio by Big Daddy Weave called “My Story” and it reminded me of how I see things. The song’s first verse is: 

“If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn’t let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear life, but it wasn’t mine.”

This made so much sense to me. I have a story that is filled with hope that doesn’t let go. I think I have always trusted that God is a part of even the minute details of my life, that I look to find Him in every situation. I place my hope in the fact that He is there. With that hope comes the realization that I am loved with an unconditional and eternal love. Some of my chapters that are not the most pleasant are because I made the choice to use my own ink, to take the author of love out of the story. But as the story continues, I am able to see a love that never gave up on me. 

However, it is the last line of the verse that I try to remind myself of every day. I hope that my story is one that allows others to see God. I want my story, when finished, to see that my life was one of Divine love and joy. I want my story to not be my story at all. I want it to be a story of how our God continues to write Gospel in the lives of those who know Him. I know that God continues to write my chapters and I need to try to stop taking the pen. 

Author and writing coach Brian Falkner once wrote, “Life is like a book. Some chapters are sad, some are happy and some are exciting, but if you never turn the page, you will never know what the next chapter has in store for you.” I have learned that we can not get stuck on one chapter, even if it is an exciting chapter. We need to keep going no matter how much we want to stay where we are. God is not finished writing your story. Keep turning the pages and you will find His hope, His love and His life so beautifully intertwined with your own.

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.


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