Years back, I spent many hours driving the back roads of Branch County, Michigan with my grandmother narrating the triumphs and shenanigans of relatives who populated her memory. Some stories she knew because her mother shared them, so the timeline stretched back into the late-1800s. Though she lived to 103, much of the data in her memory was fragmented during the last few years of her life. She repeated two or three stories over and over. We tried to listen respectfully, but sometimes couldn't help but roll our eyes when she wasn't looking.
During those years, I timed my visits with grandma for mid-morning -- she’d had breakfast and her energy level was at its peak. When she began to repeat a story, I'd ask for details that weren't in the usual script. More often than not, we were both delighted by the conversation that followed.
It strikes me that much the same thing happens with our personal stories. Though names, places and times change, one or two dominant themes often recur. We say we’re tired of rerunning the same script, yet do little more to affect change than roll our eyes. If we want to write a new story, we have to summon the inspiration and courage to change the entire plot. Through the power of God within us, we’ve all got the talent, strength and ability to accomplish just that.