Winning Words

`I Can Only Imagine’ what happens when we tell our own story


One of my very favorite songs is by MercyMe, and the name of the song is, “I Can Only Imagine.” You may have heard it before. You may have seen the movie that was made about the song and its writer Bart Millard and the band MercyMe.

The song was written and recorded in 1999 and rerecorded and rereleased in 2001. When ringtones were first made available, at least when my kids introduced ringtones to me, it became my ringtone whenever anyone would call me, and I just loved whenever my phone rang. And even when I hear the first few notes today, it still brings a tear to my eye.

The statistics for this song are truly amazing as it was a powerful crossover song, meaning “I Can Only Imagine” had significant and meaningful success across all genres of music from pop to country, and of course, Christian rock. I am fairly confident you have heard it, but of you haven’t, you should.

As powerful as the notes of the music are, and as humbling and inspiring as the lyrics are, the story behind the song is even that much more significant. To understand what I am talking about, I encourage you to watch the movie. Since it had come out, many friends and many of you had encouraged me to go see it. But I never had. Until last week. And it is an incredible film, with an even more amazing story.

And that brings me to my point of this week’s column. The story behind the story. You see, in the movie Bart Millard is an incredible talent, with a moving voice and engaging personality. And he and the band can bring in the crowds as they play their music, but it’s not “their” music, it’s not “their” story, it’s not Bart’s story. And in one of the most memorable moments of the movie, of Bart’s story, when their manager tells him that he, Bart, needs to tell his story in a song, you can feel your heart race, and your pulse quicken, and the tears form in your eye, because we all have a story.

Bart Millard’s story was not pleasant, but in the end, it was beautiful, so incredibly beautiful. I hope that make sense, if not, please watch the movie.

Now I am not sharing this with you because we all have an unpleasant story — some of us do, and some of us don’t. But what I do know is that we all have a story. Each and every one of us. And you do not have to write a column in this paper to share your story with your family, loved ones, or friends. You just need to share your story with them and with others who can appreciate it, learn from it, and maybe even pass it along.

You have a song to sing, a story to tell, a novel to write, a poem to share, and a picture to paint. I still do too even after 10 years of writing this column — it’s all not out there yet. And the most powerful and significant of all stories ever told and still yet to be told is the story of love and forgiveness. That story was brought to life in the song and in the movie, “I Can Only Imagine.”

So how about you? Oh, I am sure you have a story to tell, have you told it? Have you shared it? I encourage you to share it with your family, friends, and loved ones. And if not, please share it with me at And when we can share our own stories, and live the story of love and forgiveness, it really will be a better than good life.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton


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