I overheard a man talking about paying off his mortgage as he handed money to the cashier. “I’m almost there,” he said. He looked over at me, realizing he had my attention. I congratulated him, and he proceeded with his unsolicited advice.
“I tell you what, brother, don’t get a divorce! That’s the key. It will wreck you. That’s why I’m 67 and just now paying this off. You know what they say about Proverbs 31? A good wife is worth more than all the riches! I tell you, that’s the truth.”
I thanked him for sharing, got in my car, and continued driving home. I jotted a quick note about the experience, certain there was something to take away from this. As I drove home and rewatched this odd scene in my life, I came to this conclusion...
You know this guy has been telling this story, regurgitating this dialogue, to literally every single person who will listen. His divorce, his finances, his narrative around all of it—it defines him. He leads with it. He weaves it into every conversation. Every stranger will know it.
There’s no judgment. I’m sure he doesn’t realize. I’m even more sure we are all equally as guilty about this pattern. Maybe most of us are less obvious and much less awkward, but I’d say it’s likely we’re all leading with a story that’s selling us short.
It might not be to every person we meet. It’s probably not always verbal. But it’s there, and it’s defining who we believe we are and what we believe we are capable of.
It’s the thing that we’ll hold onto until we are 67 or older if we let it. We’ll keep telling it, believing it, submitting to it, not knowing freedom from it lies simply within a paradigm shift.
“The aim of all religion is the art of letting go.” I keep learning this over and over and over and over again. I have a feeling I’ll keep learning it until I really learn it. Do you know what I mean?
We’ll continue the cycles, the loops, the repetitive hang-ups until humility completes its work. That’s where peace lives, where freedom is present, when we are no longer slaves to our stories.