I was boarding my flight from Sydney last week when I noticed that Beyonce was sitting in first class with Jay-z. Their daughter, Blue Ivy, had the most amazing pink bunny ears on top of her head for Easter, and I really wanted to ask them to have a selfie with me. But I restrained myself because I imagined what it would be like if everyone on the plane asked them that, and how invasive it would be.
But about 3 hours into the 5 hour flight, Beyonce and Blue Ivy came walking down the back of the plane just as I was getting up to go to the toilet (okay I might’ve got up a little bit quicker, when I saw them. Little bit). I crouched down in the aisle and said to Blue Ivy “I love your bunny ears!”. Her eyes lit up and she wrapped her tiny, pudgy arms around her mother’s impossibly long legs and said “someone else likes my ears mommy!”
It was just a tiny kindness. I’ll remember it more than her for sure. But what happened next, blew me away!
I was one of the last people to get off the flight and nearly everyone else had long since left the arrivals gate and hurried off to collect their baggage from the conveyor belts conveniently located about a million miles away, down two flights of stairs. But as I was about to hurry off myself, a stewardess touched my elbow and said “Miss Jones, I was asked to give you this.” It was an envelope with very florid hand writing on it. It said “Miss Bunny Ears”.
I opened the envelope and inside was a letter from Beyonce. She wrote about how homesick Blue Ivy had been during their Australian tour, and how she had had “a total meltdown” at the hotel that very morning because she felt like she was so far from home and had no friends, no-one even noticed her, everyone just wanted to talk to her mummy and daddy. And she just wanted to go home. She was not looking forward to going even further away from home, to Perth.
There was also a drawing, obviously done by Blue Ivy. This kid is no Picasso! But I think it was her with the bunny ears, her mummy and daddy (who were very skinny), and I’m guessing I’m the very fat woman who is crouching down with her huge bottom in the air!
Along with Beyonce’s letter and Ivy Blue’s drawing, was a cheque, signed by Jay-Z (I didn’t know his real name was Shawn Carter until that moment). It was in US Dollars. And it was for one million of those dollars.
Giving up a selfie, and giving a self-less compliment to a little girl, had left me jumping for joy at arrivals gate 23 in Perth airport!
Sometimes not getting what you want is even better than getting what you want.
Okay. Of course, I wasn’t a flight with Beyonce – she has her own private jet! And I didn’t get a million dollars from Jay-Z. I just made it up.
The point is, sometimes life as a witness is better when you make stuff up.
Understand that Jesus didn’t use very much scripture. He mainly used scripture when he was talking to religious people. But when he was talking to everyday people, especially when he was speaking in public, he hardly ever referred to bible writers.
He mainly used lies. Well, not everyone calls them lies. Some people call it pretend or creativity or fiction.
He made stuff up.
There really wasn’t a sower who started sowing on rocky ground – he just made it up.
Do you really believe there was a prodigal son who spent all of his father’s money? No! He just made it up.
As for a good Samaritan, that’s like saying there was a good Osama Bin Laden. He just made it up.
The point is that all of his stories had a point. All of his fiction was designed to tell a truth.
Pablo Picasso, the amazing artist, died in 1973. But his art will never die. And one of his quotes about art is illuminating for all who seek to witness.
“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”
Jesus might never have painted a canvas, but he was very creative in his communication. He often used lies to reveal a truth.
I’m not suggesting you start telling lies about facts. But I am suggesting that you practice storytelling. God is the Creator. Ask for God’s help in creating creative stories.
Hopefully, you’re going to be a witness for the rest of your life. So think about how you will be telling your story in five years’ time. Think about what sort of technology you can use to tell your story now.
I had a young girl look very surprised tonight when I told her I was on snapchat. She said “Oh, I thought that was just the younger generation, like fourteen year olds”. Let me tell you, this forty-nine year old is already thinking about how I can tell creative stories using mobile and virtual reality technologies that aren’t even available yet!
Practice creating new stories from the everyday world you live in, that will put the spotlight on a truth others might not yet be able to see. If you’re worried about developing the reputation of a liar, I’ve found the morning of April Fools’ Day is a great time to practice.
The above is an excerpt from my new book “Witness” which is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com