Choir Notes

The Unfolding Story
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell

We never know the whole story of anyone’s life. We might know bits and pieces, parts of a person’s background or circumstances, but never the whole story.

For example, it’s estimated that more than 15,000 books have been written about Abraham Lincoln and another 50,000 about the Civil War. And yet, with all those volumes, more will yet be written. More details will be revealed, and each will be examined from new perspectives in the coming years. And even then, we will not know the whole story.

Likewise, each life is an unfolding story—a story of growth and learning and change, a story of happiness and heartbreak, a story of success and sorrow. So perhaps we ought to be a little more patient, a little more forgiving. Perhaps we ought to be slower to judge and quicker to love.

Many years ago, a 14-year-old girl contracted a terrible case of chicken pox. Fever burned its way through her body, and before long, the unsightly pox erupted all over her skin. She missed several days of school before the doctor assured her that she was no longer contagious, though her face was covered with scabs.

Mustering all her courage, she boarded the junior high school bus that first day back. A thoughtless young man called out and made fun of her scarred face while his friends laughed. She pretended not to hear them as she walked toward an empty seat. If only they knew the whole story. If only they knew how difficult it was for her to face her peers that day.

Never forget that every life and every occasion is unfolding in a unique and distinctive way. We may know some, but never all, of the story; so err on the side of compassion. Hold off on criticism and sarcasm, and never withhold kindness and mercy. And then, someday, when the whole story is finally written, we’ll be thankful that we were able to contribute—at least in some small way—to a happy ending.

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