Where’s the Book Inside You?

We ran into each other again at Manna House a few Wednesdays ago. It’s where we usually see each other these days.

Cowboy and I first met in his homeless camp. From first glance and first conversation, I knew Cowboy was rich in life stories.

When I couldn’t believe he was as old as he said—he didn’t look his age—he volunteered his ID to prove it. But as the stories added up, I knew he had lived many years. How else can you squeeze so much living into one lifetime?

The past several months he’s been promising me a book. One that he’s been writing. It’s about his life.

I definitely want to read Cowboy’s book.

Where's the Book Inside You

But Cowboy doesn’t always get to the library to type up his tales on the computers there. His health isn’t as great as it used to be. And his years continue to add up.

Will I ever get to read his book?

I’ve read a lot of books in my life. But I haven’t read enough yet. There are more books I have yet to read.

Because there are more sides of God I have yet to see.

Each life tells a story. Each life shows a different side of God. Cowboy’s life shows a side I didn’t grow up with. Perhaps more troubled. Rougher around the edges. Yet protective and gentle, also in unique ways.

If Cowboy never gets his book finished, I hope I’ll continue running into him at Manna House or the library or occasionally at a mutual friend’s funeral.

I can listen, even if I can’t read. He can talk, even when he can’t write.

On the last Wednesday we talked, Cowboy and Susan needed a ride back to their homeless camp (they’ve since moved into an apartment of their own again!). We dropped them off at the edge of their woods.

As they walked deeper into the woods, deeper than we could see, I thought again about Cowboy’s future book full of his past stories.

Even if I never get to read them, Cowboy’s stories have already enriched my stories. His life has enriched mine.

But I still hope he’ll finish his book.

You might want to read it, too.

* * *

Whose life story would you like to read? How you written your own story? Please share in the comments.

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23 thoughts on “Where’s the Book Inside You?

  1. Michele Morin

    Thanks for this great insight, Lisa. And I see this too whenever I’m teaching a grup of women. I look into their faces and see one story after another. I don’t know the details, but I know God has been at work, and whenever he’s working there’s a story.

  2. Pam Ecrement

    What a great story and SO TRUE!! We all need to be encouraged to tell the stories that are ours. As I was reading this I wondered if you could transcribe the stories for him to save them in some way.

  3. Lesley

    I agree, people’s stories are fascinating, and all of them have things to teach us about God. I can think of quite a few people whose stories I would like to read/ learn more about!

  4. Laurie

    I hope Cowboy gets to write his book. I have found that the misfits, the outcasts, and the dreamers usually have something to teach me. These were the people Jesus hung out with. I love your concept of each person showing you a different face of God. everyone has something to teach us if we let them. Great post!

  5. bill (cycleguy)

    I think you inadvertently brought up a good point Lisa. many people think of homeless as living under a bridge or in a “camp.” Around here we have people who live in the woods but don’t want you to know it or know where it is. We don’t have a “city bridge” someone can live under. that being said, i would love to read his story if it is ever published.

  6. Joanne Viola

    Such a great story and a reminder to us all to listen intently to others. Every story told holds a lesson for each of us to glean. I hope he finishes writing his book and please let us know when it is published as I would love to read his story.

  7. Trudy

    I love your gift of drawing out the stories of others, Lisa. And of making them feel they and their stories are special and important. I hope Cowboy’s story is written someday for others to be enriched by. But what a blessing already that you have his story in your memories. Thank you for sharing this and for encouraging us that our stories matter. Love and blessings to you!

  8. Kathleen Burkinshaw

    Dear Lisa, I would definitely love to read his story! I wrote about my Mom’s story of surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima at 12 yrs old. Someday, I may do mine. I enjoy your blog posts. I’m visiting from Let’s Have Coffee Link up 🙂

  9. Karen Friday

    Lisa, such sweet reflections about Cowboy and the story…book inside of each of us. Love this thought, “Each life tells a story. Each life shows a different side of God.” I’m glad you are hearing Cowboy’s stories, reading chapters of his life each time you see him. I hope he does get to finish his book one day. And if not, maybe the Lord will call you to share some of what you know about his life in a book or a series of blog posts!

  10. Rebecca Hastings

    This challenge to listen is so good. Sometimes I’m tempted to rush through and skip over the listening, but there is so much value in that place. Not all the words or stories end up on the page.

  11. Beth

    You sure do meet a lot of interesting people along the way in your mission and ministry efforts, Lisa! You inspire me to reach out and help others, who in turn, help us so much more than we could ever help them! Hugs to you!

  12. Mother of 3

    I am finding I just love reading about people’s lives there are so many interesting stories out there. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

  13. Tea With Jennifer

    What a wonderfully interesting book that would be Lisa!
    I have written two books… of God’s grace in
    1. The death of my two children & my experience of Heaven.
    2. My journey through the shadow of the valley of death with my husband’s brain cancer, his death & the ensuing grief I experienced coming to a victorious triumph in God.
    My daughter believes that I still have another book in me to write of my life… We shall see!
    Bless you,

  14. floyd samons

    I love those colorful characters that add to ours!

    I appreciate your attitude, Lisa. I too believe that every person is a walking story book that just needs to be recorded.

    I’ve written five manuscripts to date, working on the sixth. One of them, Fried Bologna Sandwiches and Tears, that I’m still agent hunting for, is a memoir that is essentially a tribute to my late dad.

    I’ll look forward to reading Cowboy’s book too!

  15. Crystal Twaddell

    I appreciate this perspective of taking the time to hear and read other people’s stories because in them, we experience different aspects of God. And in this, I know he builds unity and relationship with him and others. I hope you do get to read his book one day!

  16. Juanita Deloris

    I have not written my story…yet, but it is something I would like to accomplish one day soon. I think it is such a wonderful gift God has given us, this ability to learn and be encouraged by one another’s story. When God opens the door for us to speak of His greatness in our lives, we should definitely not let the opportunity pass us by. God bless you!

  17. Betty Jo

    I would love to read Cowboy’s story. I once began to write my life story, but after several chapters I was overcome with conviction that I was doing so from a place of pain and rejection, trying to have the last word, to get back at those who had hurt so deeply. So, I stopped. Only recently have I had a desire to write again, but think I’ll stick to blog posts for now. ♥

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