‘Sometimes, God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past, so it doesn’t become their future.’
WRITE THE SADDEST STORY YOU CAN USING ONLY FOUR WORDS.
Any average internet user (which according to most recent study on internet usage spends 13 hours online per week) must have come across this mini challenge that first landed on Twitter and soon adopted on Facebook and given it a shot. Ring a bell, folks?
I have read some responses online and some took it easy scrawling ‘Netflix account has expired.’ ‘The wifi doesn’t work.’ but some put their hearts on it and wrote ‘She loved, he left.’ ‘We are a mistake.’ ‘There was no us.’ among others. And these three sound sad to me.
If you have participated on this online exercise, do you mind sharing what story you have come up with? What writer have you turned yourself into? Have you written a sad, a really sad or a staggeringly sad story? I would love to hear them so feel free to keep them coming on our comments section.
Were this social media writing challenge given to 1800 poet John Greenleaf Whittier, he surely has something unbeatably sad to tell us. He wrote a poem called Maud Muller that tells about a young lady and a judge who are greatly attracted to each other to the extent of wishing to be together. Maud dreams of marrying the judge because of his gentleness and integrity and ultimately get rid of the impoverished job on the fields and be a wife of a rich and influential man. Same goes for the judge yet for totally opposite reason. He is exhausted of his career and simply wants to marry a simple and compassionate woman like Maud and live a prudent country life. But none of these happened. They do not speak up about their feelings- both unwilling to defy the extant social classing. Maud soon marries a man who does not make her happy and the judge gets into a loveless marriage. Both of them are miserable.
Two lines from final verse of the poem left us something to ruminate. No wonder this excerpt remains apparent generation after generation. Whittier wrote: “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’” Take note, that is four words: IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN! Whittier got Twitter and Facebook instructions right.
‘It might have been!’ does not sound saddest to me right away. I keep on asking myself, pondering, listing reasons in my head. Believe me, it took me three countries before answers shine on me. I left Norway thinking about it, arrived in Denmark still asking God what made that statement painful. Left Denmark still clueless and arrived in France praying to figure it out soon. Coz I have a deadline to beat, not to mention, I am missing it.
Please do not get me wrong. I know exactly why the remark ‘It might have been!’ is saddest in the case of Maud and the judge. It is clearer than clear, it falls on the category of Love Unsaid. They did not try AT ALL. And forever, they would have to stand that unsettling voice in their head, ‘what if I tried?’
What I am fervently praying to God is to have me see how this four-worded story relevant to us-CHRISTians. And of course, He does answer prayers, in timing He knows best.
For you to see a vivid picture, there has to be a context. I got a message on Facebook in August from a dearly loved friend and it broke my heart. After just a week, there is another message from a church mate and it left me stunned. Then came the third message from a neighbor of mine who is six years younger than I am and this time, I am sobbing, pleading this is the last. The three messages seem to have been copied and pasted read: ‘I am pregnant Sads/Ate Sads. Please tell me, what will I do? I can’t go to church anymore’. Other details came, how things end up as they are, explaining here and there- in the atmosphere are remorse and confusion.
‘It might have been better if I didn’t enter in such premature relationship. ‘It might have been better if I held my guards and waited for marriage.’ ‘It might have been better if I didn’t disobey.’ Over and over, their hearts recite these with anguish.
‘It might have been’ may just be four words; but inside it are emptiness, shame, emotional torment and REGRETS. No one is novice to this feeling. At one point in this life, we found ourselves running away from God, taking over the captain’s seat and sailing on our own. There are nights of weeping, blaming oneself, feeling filthy and pathetic, regretting our disobedience repeatedly.
Committing pre-marital sex is just a single picture of disobedience; there are tons of ‘how’ we are disobedient to God. Yet, while there is nothing good about disobedience, God is always good. Undeniable how disobedience breeds only regrets and destructions but we should not overlook how disobedience magnifies God’s unfailing love and forgiveness. How amazing that God does not call us by how we disobeyed to Him rather by the holiness we have in Christ, all the time.
I see no other reason. I could find no other name for it. God’s GRACE is the sole thing that transforms our disobedience to happy endings. It is the only provision that turns our filthy stories to fresh beginnings. It’s love, mercy, hope and good future put altogether.
‘It might have been’ is not just a story of regret. It could be a story of repentance, of new walk in Jesus and a testimony of His glory. Our sins when kept in our hands are forever against us. They will forever taint us but when they are brought at the feet of the cross, our sins could speak of the greatest LOVE one could ever know, a love that forgives, saves and renews.
We do not encourage disobedience. This is to tell us that one disobedience could never turn right by committing another disobedience. It is what we do to our waywardness that would make a difference. We have to choose which direction to run. Shall we run away from God, carry the weight of our sins and self-destruct or shall we run towards God and let Him break and mold us? Every story in this universe can depict our triumph and His glory. It is never late to let God write your story. He awaits you to hand Him the pen.
Sads Mesalucha, TLW Volunteer