Thursday, February 25, 2010
Scared of Your Own Story
One of the best books I ever read was, "Boys Life"... except for one chapter. This one chapter has the main character growing imaginary wings and soaring over his town. In no way did it fit with the rest of the book, add to character development, or give the reader any personal insight. We will come back to that.
Life is about story: you are either part of one or merely an observer of others' stories. The realization of this reality seems be as inescapable as death- some see it very early whereas others waste their lives pages on pursuing filler chapters. I was reading after a friend of mine recently who- in an attempt to impress a girl- signed on to hike the Machu Picchu trail. He realized, somewhere in the midst of the pain of the hike (because it is one of the most difficult hikes you can do) that pain is what builds story.
No one watches movies about perfect lives. There might be a perfect ending but that's it. No one would watch a movie about girl who had millions of dollars, a fully functional family, went to church, was attending the finest schools, gave away thousands of dollars, had the truest of friends, and finally married the boy next door whose life was equally perfect. You know why of course. Those people don't exist. Life is painful but the joy of completing the journey or sections of it make the story worth reading.
If life is too comfortable it eventually feels meaningless, boring.
So the question becomes: will your story be intentional or unintentional? Will you live significantly in pain and relationship or hide in front of the TV, in a career you don't care about, always afraid of failing?
Back to that book with the meaningless chapter... I found out later the reason that chapter was even in the book was because the publisher at the time thought the book was too short and asked him to write another chapter. It struck me that many of us have chapters like that: we did something even though it didn't fit in our story or with our purpose because we felt like we should.
Let us never live chapters without meaning or be afraid of living stories for fear of pain. Without pain, there is no joy, without dark, no sunrise.