God Knows the Punch Line

On Friday night, I made it to the ICWF Spring WorDshop (after getting lost in Calgary and having to call my father-in-law for help) just in time to hear Alton Gansky’s keynote. He began by telling us “Your life is a joke” and went on to explain why that was a good thing. He defined a joke as one story with two possible endings: one you expect and one you don’t expect. (He threw in a few jokes for good measure.) Similarly, in our lives, we have expectations, an ending in mind, but then often, something comes along that we don’t expect.

Along with several people at my table, I could completely identify with what Al was saying. I thought back to the four years (has it been that long already?) since my hubby and I graduated with our first degrees, and the plans we had for our lives then. I was going to take a year off and then start my master’s degree. That hasn’t quite happened yet. A lot of other things have happened, but not the way we expected. And you know what? That’s okay.

As Al said, God knows the ending of the story. Al read Acts 16:6, which talks about Paul and his companions wanting to go into Asia to preach the Word, but instead going to other places because God had closed the door to Asia. God put a twist in their plans. Often, in our lives and in our writing, He’ll put a twist in our plans too. Have another destination in mind for us than we do. Al said he started out to write nonfiction; now, most of his books are fiction. God had other plans for him.

Al challenged us to be open to change, to the new directions that God may be leading us in. He told us to expect twists—in our life and in our writing careers. He joked that he’d like to collect his earlier books and burn them, because he’s learned and grown so much as a writer since then (that reminded me of Lisa Samson’s similar comment). He’s changed, as every writer should. Change is a good thing. He’s not the writer that he was ten years ago, and neither should we be.

I left the conference glad that I’d made the effort to come for Friday night and a bit sorry that I’d miss the rest of the talks Saturday (but my friend’s wedding on Saturday was a lot of fun). Al spoke encouragement that I needed to hear as my hubby and I face changes in our lives yet again. I just have to remember that my life is a joke and God knows the punch line.

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  1. Koala Bear Writer March 25, 2010
  2. Janet Sketchley March 24, 2010

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