An Unfinished Story

unfinished story

I woke up in between dreams with a sharp memory of the dream I just had. Usually I dream in story lines and moving pictures. This was different though. It was a concept, an idea, one so encompassing it was hard to grasp and I remember thinking as I woke up, “I need to remember this so I can write it down.”

Then I promptly drifted off to sleep again.

Now I only remember faintly the concept and a sort of picture that came along with it. I know there was more, but I can’t recall it. The concept was that every life is an unfinished story. I know it’s nothing original, but it was such a strong impression in my dream that it made the idea stand out to me in a new light.

Every life is an unfinished story.

Some stories have only just begun, with blank pages stretching out before the unwritten life. Other stories are nearly at the end, right before the book closes with resounding finality. Most are somewhere in the middle, muddling through the chapters, acts, and scenes; the thickening of plots and the unresolved tensions.

In the dream I saw a sort of picture of lives as stories, pages flipping, days turning, seasons changing. And I saw, beyond it, a bigger picture. A bigger story. One that encompassed all the rest, yet included them somehow. Like all the stories were part of the one great story.

How could it be so? I wondered, while wondering, How could it not?

Perhaps I have been reading too much lately. Turning too many pages. Beginning and ending too many chapters. Perhaps they all merged together in my subconscious mind to create that strange sort-of-dream.

But we’re nearing the end of the year. In a way like the end of a chapter, which usually end with some issues resolved and others having just been thrown into the mix. How many chapters will there be in this story? The unfinished story of my life? I have no idea. I don’t even really want to know. But I do want to make each chapter, each page, worth it.

Every day, which so quickly turns into a month. Then months. Seasons. Years. They pass so quickly, often with barely more than a glance and a nod. But too soon, the book comes to an end.

What will my story read when it is finished? When it is complete?

It’s a good question, I think, to ask at the end of a year. At the end of a day.

What will my story be?

What will your story be?

[I will be offline for the next month or so, as I mentioned in my other blog, in part so I can step back, catch a vision of the story. What it is. What it should be. And hopefully begin to close the gap between the two.

Today I read something by Frederick Buechner that stood out to me: “I have long come to believe that all of our stories are at their deepest level the same story” (Speak What We Feel).

As we begin to write


Perhaps we will each catch a glimpse

of that greater story

The same story,

Encompassing all stories.

And smile

And begin to truly live.


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