March 10, 2012

The Stuff Stories are Made of

I’ve heard people speak of viewing life as a story and yourself as a character in it. I think this is a beautiful perspective. Similarly, each life is a book within that story. Though we are the not the sole authors of our own book, as we are part of a much larger story, we do bare much responsibility for our own tale – our will, our choices, our mistakes, our gifts, and our weaknesses all contribute to what’s being written.

Life is not perfect. Looking at life through the prism of a story allows room for the conflicts, the struggles, and the tragedies. Indeed, what is a story without conflict? What if the characters in our favorite stories shied away and hid from all their struggles? We probably would not have enjoyed that story. We are not moved or inspired by the character that runs away, clams-up, and does not face the adventure at hand. Those are the kind of characters we don’t write about. But they too are reflective of us. We are not simply heroic protagonists. We are human, and we have weaknesses.

Life is not a choose your own adventure story where you can always go back and make a different choice if things don’t work out. We must live with the choices we make and their consequences. Though we may not like where we are, we have only one way to go, and that is forward. If we stumble on this adventure we must catch ourselves, if we fall we must get back up, and if we get lost we must find our way again. There will always be help along the way, when we need it most.

Never give up completely, no matter how bad your story gets. Remember, it’s those stories, the ones in which the character chooses to weather the darkness, that always mean the most to us. Surly we all feel hopeless and down sometimes, like things are not as they should be, as if we are failing in our part of the story. But take heart and remember that things never stay the same. Dark nights always give way to new days, struggles give way to understanding, and facing those hardships is the very stuff great stories are made of.     

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