What's Your Story?
I’ve been working on writing and illustrating a short story (picture book) for some time now. Today I will pull out the story and attempt to edit it yet again. As I procrastinate I’m thinking about stories in general. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “everyone has a story,” but I don’t think we consider the concept of story itself. A story has elements such as a plot, setting, characters, and a theme. Sometimes I’d like to know who the heck is writing my story because frankly, there are times when I think I would have written it quite differently!
So what role doI have in writing my story? Am I a co-author or merely a character? It seems apparent to me that I am a co-author although I frequently act like a powerless victim who has been unfairly and unwillingly inserted into a satirical comedy. I have the potential to affect the direction of my story, even if just attitudinally which could alter the entire plot. Though the setting and characters have often changed, I remain the protagonist. There are prominent characters some of whom have been in my saga from the beginning such as my family — others who randomly appear as the settings change daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. The plot often takes a turn without my input, but the theme can still stay the same regardless. Themes such as truth, perseverance, faith, love, family, friendship, or hope can remain in the most sinister of plots.
More interesting to me is the fact that we are all characters in the stories of others. We frequently tramp carelessly through life without regard for the role we are playing in the stories of those around us. Am I a confidante, antagonist, or static character? Are my lines carefully considered as they would be if I (the co-author) were actually writing them? How would my character be described physically, emotionally, and spiritually? In which chapter do I appear on the scene in this person’s story? Is it a period of conflict, resolution, or climax? Did I carefully exit the episode or thoughtlessly disappear leaving the main character alone, afraid, angry, resentful, or sad? How would I respond to my character in the story? Would she infuriate or inspire me? Would I rationalize this character’s actions the way I perhaps do in reality, or would I see more clearly the truth of my persona?
It’s all a story this life we live, and we are all participating in one grand story. Like it or not, we are characters in the stories of everyone we encounter daily, weekly, monthly… year after year… until death. There is a Divine Author who has written the one book that is common to all of our stories and who is reading each of our stories as they unfold. We’ve been given the job of lifetime — co-author of this non-fiction. How would we feel if we could watch Him pick up our personal storybooks and begin to read? Would He smile with pride or gasp at our careless additions? We’ll all find out in the epilogue.
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