No Editing in Heaven
I’m having one of those unedited days. It’s dragging. I swear these listless hours are just a bunch of raw footage that’s going to end up on the cutting room floor. So why do I have to live it? What’s the point?
What’s the point—a question that has reverberated in my soul since…too early. I’m driven! I like goals! I like mental stimulation! I don’t like to waste time. I begged my mom to home-school me in 8th grade because I thought the time we frittered away in class was unbearable. (Also, I was not exactly swimming socially, ask me later how many friends you make when you stick stuff up your nose.) I asked a college professor on the first day of class, in the nicest way possible, but sincerely, what’s the point of this class? He, believe it or not, appreciated and answered the question. I’m surprised I haven’t been kicked out of life.
You can imagine this has surfaced in my convos with God. Lord, what’s the point of this? Why the drag of days? Even as you defy complacency with all your little heart, you’ll watch yourself slow to a crawl anyway. You’ll slog through tar just when you thought you were starting to run. Anyone tucking decades under their belt by now can agree that life tends to drift like an insouciant breeze into the long haul of days. All the moms sweating their single friends’ “freedom,” all the singles sobbing on their pillows over the “purpose” their mother friends have—let’s all join hands because we’re all walking this stuff at the same pace. Even should you find your holy grail, whatever it was you swore you couldn’t live without, well, now you have to live with it. And it passes to you through the filter of this world and the rhythm of days. This world, God bless it and give it a medal, has the uncanny talent of slowing even the nicest of things to nigh on Kelvin. I’m not even mad, bro. I just need a new approach. Help me, Ecclesiastes. “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing…all man’s efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.” I know that’s right. But let’s push ourselves around the sun one more time, for giggles.
We love a well-told story—skillfully edited, sharp purpose shaping the lines. This is why we sit gaping at small-screen stories, our entertainments, our Netflix, and lose the greater story of our souls. Short stories are satisfying (and compared to life, all stories are short)—beginning, middle, and end, no confusion, all momentous: It is important that she just said that, remember that. Oh, he’s chasing after her, we’re headed for a heated fight/spark-filled reconciliation (and probably in the driving rain. You can’t desperately apologize and reignite a romance unless the sky is humbling you with water, it turns out). In a well-told tale, nothing is wasted or random.
But today I’m living the raw footage. On a restless, random day like today, I don't know the story my life is telling. To be honest, I have to trust God that there even is one. I’m staking a lot on the faith that one of these days, the shepherd of my days will unveil His epic, and the roads He led me down ran right through it. Is He going to take the mundane and edit out the tedium to tell a poignant short story? That’s what we do: take any hero of old, you can quickly review the highlight reel, the bullet points. Here’s the amazing way this guy changed the world! Yeah, but they lived hours and days just like we do. Moses was hiding in the back woods shepherding and being normal before he finally reemerged as the leader God called him to be, oh, I don’t know, 40 years before. Do I want to follow Moses with a handheld cam for 14,000 days and record his every move? Not really, and no offense. But please skip to the bedtime story version about the ten plagues and whatnot. There better be pictures.
Will these hours of my life be whittled down to a highlight reel? When God tells your story, will He edit out the “unimportant” and tell only the bullet points of your heart? Or is everything important, more than we care to consider? And is God such a fantastic raconteur that He don’t even need to edit—there’s no such thing as raw footage in heaven, every second weaves together with other lives in jaw-dropping meaning?
I don’t know. I’m writing out loud. And today, my ennui is such that I believe I shall quit writing and stare out the window. Yet on this day of grand lethargy, I trust that even window staring could be a peculiar stone in the mosaic of my life. Not because I’m special or heroic, but because I’m betting on the excellence of my Editor.