My kids went through a phase where they loved the PBS cartoon Super Why!. We still will watch the occasional episode on Netflix. Wyatt, the main character, and his friends, turn into super readers to solve problems and change the ending to familiar stories–for good reasons.
I’ve long been inspired by this aspect of the cartoon–that they change the story by changing one word.
And while real-life change doesn’t seem that simple, it really isn’t as complicated as we make it.
Sometimes, we can change the story with just one word. Or action. Or decision. For ourselves, and others.
I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. I loved being able to go back through the book and pick a different outcome through a series of choices. Brilliant book concept. I would constantly try to find the best ending.
Our lives are a little bit like those books. Each choice we make leads to another page, another chapter, another outcome. But unlike those stories, ours are more fluid. Nothing is finished until the final day of our lives. No one’s story has its ending in the midst of living it.
I forget that some days. Especially when life seems especially hard.
It won’t always be this way. The story isn’t over.
Here’s how I know: I see people who are living as if the story is still being written.
I have some things to tell you about fair trade products in the weeks to come. Here’s a teaser for that:
I’ll be telling you a lot more about an organization that is changing the story for women around the world. What I love about this image, though, is that it reminds me that I’m a participant in changing the story. When I choose to learn more about what I wear, drink, eat and so on, I can help change the story for someone. My friends at Imagine Goods put symbols on their products that will tell you all about the person who sewed your item. I love that connection across continents.
These great organizations remind me that just because things have been done a particular way for a long time does not mean they have to continue. We can change the story.
I see it in my friends who have adopted children, both domestically and internationally. I see these kids in their families and I wonder how their stories might be different if those families had decided not to adopt. (It is no simple action to say “yes” to a child you didn’t birth.) I see it in families who make room for children who might never become part of their families. They are all changing stories by adding love and grace and faith to the plot.
And in the darkest corners of the world, covert operatives for The Exodus Road are helping to change the story of women and children sold into sex slavery. We can become part of the change in their stories when we declare publicly, “Rescue is coming.” This is not the end of the story.
Whatever actions we take, whether it is swapping out our cheaper products for ones that are ethically made from workers given fair compensation or opening our homes to those without families or funding investigations into trafficking in Southeast Asia, we can change the story.
This is nothing new for humankind.
Jesus changed the story more than 2,000 years ago when he rescued us from death with his life. He has changed my story from one of hopelessness, despair and insecurity to one of hope, joy and acceptance of who I am. He is always on the lookout for a spot in the story to change the plot for the better.
Let’s not believe that no one can change, that the world is a hopeless mess, or that we are destined for destruction.
Let’s find ways to change the story. For ourselves. For others.