Story

To live is to struggle.  That’s the way it seems these days.

We want our lives to make sense, to have a narrative arc, to have an introduction, exposition, conflict, climax, resolution.  We imagine that maybe, one day, a biographer or something will take note of the challenges we have faced, of our successes and failures and muddlings along, and write a great book or film a great movie about it–we hope that our lives will prove, in their own way, to be insights into the human condition, to be a retelling, in small letters, of some larger drama.

In truth I think that our lives are not stories, but made up of stories.  At any given times we are resolving some stories, at the climax of others, and beginning still others afresh.  These are the stories that we will tell at the end of our lives to our friends and neighbors and children and grandchildren: how we loved and lost, how we overcame our fears, how we defeated our adversaries, how we got married or got divorced or lost our jobs or got a promotion.

There are so many of these stories that they often seem to have lost their value.  What does it matter what stories we write with our lives?  What meaning is there in breaking up, in falling in love, in hearing one’s calling, in raising a family?  These things happen every day.

I wish I could end this post with some answers, but for now, I must be content to struggle with the questions.

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