Endurance: The act, quality, or power of withstanding hardship or stress.

Last night my wife, daughter and I went to see a what is billed as a one-woman-show of a three part presentation of Endurance: faith, love, and hope by Linda Keeney. Linda and Colin Keeney participate in the same community of faith (Vineyard Community Church) in Shoreline, WA. These three acts were well written and acted out.

The first “The View from Here” is about the birth of her differently-capable daughter in search of an answer to the question: How on earth do you still have faith in a loving God who gives you a child like this? It is the story of Linda’s darkest hours and how previous life circumstances had built faith into her life. When she decided to run from God and the church, she ran up against what she refers to as her “singing elephant” which had, without her knowing it, become behemoth! This part of her presentation is built from the passage in Matthew 7.24-27.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

Her Singing Elephant proved to be the “rock” on which she had built her life, and when the “winds” blew, she was sustained.

The second act is called “Snapshots,” in which Linda tells in short episodes the story of hope that helped her discover a route through the crises that come in life. This vignette is based on the parable of Jesus, often referred to as the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37, with special attention given to verses 30 and 33). She discovered how in different packages than she would have expected that God brought hope into her life when she desperately needed the upward pull in a feeling of life that was sinking around her feet.

The third and final act called “Soul Fabric” is built around the parable of Jesus in Matthew 21.28-32 about the two sons called to go work in the Vineyard. One says, “No!” but later goes and works. The other says, “Yes!” but then does not. Soul Fabric tells several small vignettes about Linda’s younger life and the fabrics, kinds of relationships, that came to her life that in the final repose built a beautiful quilt bringing warmth to those who snuggle up under it. Herein, she tells the stories in her life of saying “No!” but then discovering the beauty of saying yes. The final story of not “doing teenagers” is moving and poignant in its real expression of love in action.

Life is full of, well, life. It does not often go as planned, but one thing is for sure, with faith, hope, and love, we can find life fulfilling and, yes, even in the darkest hours, it can be lived for the sake of others. Faith, hope, and love impregnated in us by the Spirit of God makes endurance possible.

It was a wonderful and fun evening. Linda is a brilliant storyteller. Remember, stories shape our lives. She’s my hero!

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