Reflections of a New Intern


[et_pb_section admin_label="section" fullwidth="off" specialty="off" background_image="" transparent_background="off" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_cta admin_label="Call To Action" title="Reflections of a New Intern" button_url="" url_new_window="off" button_text="Back" use_background_color="off" background_color="#2EA3F2" background_layout="dark" text_orientation="left" body_line_height="2em" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" custom_button="off" button_letter_spacing="0" button_use_icon="default" button_icon_placement="right" button_on_hover="on" button_letter_spacing_hover="0" header_font_size="42"] [/et_pb_cta][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section admin_label="section" transparent_background="off" background_color="#f4f4f4" allow_player_pause="off" inner_shadow="off" parallax="off" parallax_method="off" padding_mobile="off" make_fullwidth="off" use_custom_width="off" width_unit="on" make_equal="off" use_custom_gutter="off"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" text_line_height="2em" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] By Zach DeBoer I sat down on the hot, hard pavement next to a man I had never met. He didn’t look up. “What’s your name?” I prodded. The man slowly lifted his face—covered in a scraggly, unkempt beard—out of his rough hands. “Jack”, came the response. As I asked Jack about his life, he unfolded for me a bit of his story—a story of abandonment, abuse, and addiction; a story of sacrificial love and tremendous loss; a story of good memories and happy times that are now just a vague memory. Jack’s story was formed, in part, on the streets of Englewood…streets made home. My first day as a Wellspring intern was at the Kick Off Block Party on September 13th where I was able to meet so many wonderful people, people from all different walks of life. Jack is part of our Well community, a group of folks who join us for lunch on Sundays to receive a hot meal, groceries, prayer, and genuine love and community. Meeting Jack and hearing his story has stuck with me as I’ve reflected on my own story.

Our world is comprised of stories. You. Me. Jack. We all have a story. Each of these stories is entirely unique, made up of a complex array of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and relationships, formed by particular places, set in the context of a particular time. The truth is this: there never has been, is not now, and never will be a human that is just like you. Annie Dillard expresses it this way: “There are 1,198,500,000 people alive now in China. To get a feel for what that means, simply take yourself—in all your singularity, importance, complexity, and love—and multiply by 1,198,500,000. See? Nothing to it.” There’s no getting around it; your existence is singular, different from that of all others. But if you are like me, this unique story that is being written with your life sometimes feels more like “A Series of Unfortunate Events” or “Les Misérables” than the “Happily Ever After” story you had in mind. Quite honestly, if it were up to me, my story would have been written differently. I would have penned an alternate plot, inserted different verbiage, and changed all the illustrations. Perhaps you understand.

One of the beautiful things about a story is that every story has an author, and every author embodies his or her own story. Every work of composition is, in some manner, a reflection of the author—a piece of the author’s story. One cannot disconnect an author from the stories that he or she writes; in this sense, every story comes with its own story. Your story is no different. Your story has an Author. And this Author is somewhat of a professional storyteller, you might say—a true Creator in the fullest sense of the word.

Some would say that you cannot really understand or truly appreciate a story unless you know and understand the author. If this is true, what does it mean for you as you seek to understand your story, and for me as I wrestle with mine? It means that the only way we can understand the purpose and meaning of our stories is to know the Author. It means that our miniscule stories make sense only in the broader context of the greater story which the Author is writing. Perhaps this also means that it is not so much the Author who is the means to understanding our story, but it is our story that is the given means by which we come to know the Author and find our place in the context of His greater narrative.

These are lofty thoughts. But what does this all mean for you and for me as we live out our stories each day? It means at least two things. First, it is only as we come to know this great Author and participate in His narrative that we will see our stories for what they are—beautiful and entirely unique works of art that ought to be understood, treasured, and shared. Second, as we come to know the Author and His story, it becomes apparent that our story doesn’t make any sense on its own. It is really only as our stories are woven into the stories of those around us that our stories come to life and can be seen as beautiful. By themselves, our stories are only a single, dull strand of fabric; together, our stories—as the great Author and Master Weaver perfectly fits them together—create a beautiful and meaningful tapestry. This means that our stories unavoidably belong together. You. Me. Jack. We belong to each other. “Stories”, says Dan Allender, “are meant to be told, heard, and retold with others.” May we learn to embrace the stories of our lives, and in so doing may we enrich the manifold stories of which we are all a part.