Set in the high-country of Wyoming, An Unfinished Life is a gripping story of real friendships, old wounds, fresh pain and lost love.
Ten years had passed since Griffin Gilkyson died in a car crash at the age of twenty-one. His “unfinished life,” as carved on his gravestone, had impacted everyone who loved him. Griffin’s widowed wife Jean had four abusive relationships since she lost him. Griffin’s daughter Griff never knew him. She was only nine and a half since he passed away. Griffin’s father Einar blames Jean, his daughter-in-law, for his son’s death. And ever since she moved away from home, Einar has never met his long-lost granddaughter Griff.
Living in a trailer with an abusive boyfriend, Jean worries about Griff. Her choices have impacted her daughter’s future. She needs to run away from her doomed relationship and regain control of her life. Her only hopeful hideout is at Einar’s ranch in Wyoming. Even though Jean knows Einar detests her, she believes it’s high time for Griff to meet her grandfather. After all, she is the blood tie that binds them all together. That being said, can Einar forgive Jean even though he desperately wants to know his granddaughter—the only living memory of his son?
Now we come to Griff. As this young girl enters into the messy mix of relationships in her life, she attempts—with sheer determination and willful courage—to turn the page of grievous loss, anger, and blame toward finding each other through love, peace and reconciliation.
Do you sense an unfinished story between the way things are and the way they should be in your own life? Do you feel that a crucial page has been suddenly and unfairly ripped away from your story?
Even if we finish another chapter this year, our life stories will still go unfinished. Just think things through. There is never enough time to meet our goals, reach our potential, satisfy our longings or even repair our ruined relationships. Every death presents its own half-forgotten story, its incomplete masterpiece, its broken pieces of a life novel sitting on a shelf, dying to be finished.
It doesn’t matter whether I die tonight or three hundred years from now in the best hospital on the bright side of the Moon. My life will still be unfinished. There are a thousand reasons why. For starters: I will never break the three-point shooting record of Stephen Curry; I will never get to bungee jump into Valles Marineris—the Grand Canyon of Mars; I will never know who shot President John F. Kennedy; and I will never meet my children’s deepest needs and longings.
The story of an unfinished life rings true of the struggle we face daily. It puts its finger upon the emotional tug-of-war I am engaged in. Yes, there is hope, but the reality of that hope is seen on the far horizon. Its coming promise slowly unfolds in each passing day. And unfortunately, I often sense this unfinished story most with the people I love. How I want to empower them to be all that God has made them to be. As much as I want to be a part of the solution, my biggest challenge is deciding when, if, and how to address these unfinished stories I see all around me. The truth is, I am a broken human being living in a broken world, ministering— as best as I can—in my broken circumstances. I need to learn to let go and trust that God will finish their stories as well as mine.
Why? It is because God also sees our unfinished lives and the way they should be. He actively chose to be the solution, by sending Jesus into the world, not just to fix our lives, but to be with us, to give us a hopeful future, and to live in and through us by the power of his Spirit.
Being made aware of our unfinished stories, we can celebrate life with so much hope. Why do I say this? As we experience the unending struggle, we can better understand just how great the gift of God is: being present to transform us—right there in the midst of our messy relationships.