Although refreshing, even a small breeze can be intimidating, when you are suspended ninety feet above a construction site. A glow from the city illuminated the scenery more than the light from the moon above me, and I took in Austin in a way that I had never before. This was it! Yet, waves of awe almost eclipsed the realization that I was experiencing my “bucket list “accomplishment- climbing to the top of a construction crane!
Looking just past the thirty feet of steel and wires of the crane arm, I could see the forest of ever growing architecture that makes up the city skyline. Standing on that crane- the machine which adds to Austin’s imprint, while building up more stories in our city- I was struck by the thought that God has a similar view of our lives, as He looks out over the completed picture of the story He is constructing through each of us.
My hands glued to the steel bars around me, I glanced over the entire city; over the playground and workspace and lives of two million people. Two million stories…
Austin’s tallest building is fifty-six stories high… In architecture, we call each level of a building a story-a name that reaches back to the 1500s. In the days when literacy was uncommon, the narratives of history, events, and divine biblical accounts were shared on the front of buildings through painted windows, statues, and the paintings on their walls. As the people would gather, they would marvel and learn from the different stories found on each tier of the building that towered above them. As time passed, the level of a building became identified by the story it as on. Because of this, the term “stories “became popular and slowly spread throughout the world, even as the tradition of telling stories on the walls of buildings became less frequent.
Fortunately, structures that tell a story can still be found occasionally – even in our own city:
Austin’s Frost Tower is 516 floors culminating into one giant art instillation often known as the “Owl Building.” According to local legend, each story was constructed purposefully to humiliate the University of Texas, which sits in its shadow. The account passed from student to student is that the Architect was a student from Rice who decided to build his Alma Mater’s mascot into the Austin building, in order to overlook and mock the University of Texas.
Over three hundred feet tall, the Texas Capitol Building holds the legislation and history – or stories- of our state that are being written with each passing day. Standing a story and a half taller than the building, is the statue that balances on the top looking over the people. The Goddess of Liberty, as she is called, was designed and modeled after a Greek figure of old and constructed in 1888.
And, the twenty-nine levels of the UT Tower build on each other to stand as a monument to the stories of students who attend the University of Texas and serve as a marker of victory, as it is illuminated in celebration of each UT win.
We usually can’t control the stories that make up our lives - our parents, our preferences, our weaknesses, where we grew up, the color of our skin and many of the difficulties that come our way are all out of our control. But – that’s not a problem …... The life you are living right now is a story being built. You are creating a foundation for the stories of generations to come. Each day, you are playing a part in designing and assembling a product that was started long before you…. and will continue long after your time on earth.
When looking at the wisdom God has given us throughout history, it becomes clear that He is calling us to work with Him, as He orchestrates the events and experiences we each face into a story of grand design – His design. Keep searching for the story God has planned for you – and ask Him to help you understand and follow the leading of Jesus … the true Architect of the story.
Whether you feel like your story is currently under development- undergoing demolition- or being renovated, keep moving forward. It’s easy to get lost in the construction and forget something very simple - Your story matters.