Rustlings (January 3, 2017)

I watched the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life last week. I watched ‘all’ of It’s a Wonderful Life – start to finish. This is one of those movies that I have watched ‘in pieces’ my whole life. I’m pretty sure I’ve previously seen every moment of the movie but not in order and not at one sitting. I’ve joined the airing of the movie midstream. I’ve seen the beginning but been interrupted before the end. I’ve caught a scene or two during channel surfing. I’ve watched the ending numerous times. I’ve always enjoyed these viewed vignettes, but I must admit, it was nice to finally see the whole movie…start to finish…in one viewing.

I have had a wonderful life. Many of you know the general flow of my story. You know it includes: adoption and Judaism and Catholicism and Arkansas and Kentucky and Mississippi and half siblings and step-siblings and adopted siblings and the list could go on. You’ve heard pieces of the story here and there in sermons, lessons and writings. You have a vague knowledge of the movement of my life… but… some of you have expressed a desire to hear the whole thing… in order… at one sitting…

On Wednesday evening, January 4, Kyle has asked me to ‘tell my story’ during our first MidWeek Fellowship of the year. I’ve agreed to do so under two conditions: no one suggest I go to therapy when it’s over (already been) and no one have a pity party when it’s over. Like George Bailey of Bedford Falls (main character and setting of It’s a Wonderful Life), I’ve had a wonderful life. Every moment, every twist and turn, and every person has shaped me into who I am today. Somehow, I’ve always managed to live with a sense of grace and gratitude. While unique, I consider my story to be no more extraordinary than anyone else’s. We all have a story; each of our lives is intriguing. This one is mine. It’s been wonderful, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you on Wednesday, January 4.

— Jim