Life, you’ll notice, is a story.
Life doesn’t come to us like a math problem. It comes to us like a story does, scene by scene. A year goes by like a chapter from a novel. Sometimes it seems like a tragedy, sometimes like a comedy. Most of it feels like a soap opera. Either way, it’s a story through and through. “All of life is a story,” as Madeline L’Engle reminds us. Love affairs, lay-offs, the collapse of empires, your child’s day at school—none of it makes sense without a story.
This is helpful to know. When it comes to figuring things out in this life you’re living, you’d do well to know the rest of the story. Because for most of us, life feels like a movie we’ve arrived to forty minutes late. Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. No wonder we keep losing heart. We need to know the rest of the story.
For when we were born, we were born into the midst of a great story begun before the dawn of time. A story of adventure, of risk and loss, heroism...and betrayal. A story where good is warring against evil, danger lurks around every corner, and glorious deeds wait to be done. Think of all those stories you’ve ever loved—there’s a reason they stirred your heart. They’ve been trying to tell you about the true Epic ever since you were young.
Walk into any large mall, museum, amusement park, university, or hospital, and you will typically meet at once a very large map, with the famous red star and the encouraging words “You are here.” These maps are offered to visitors as a way to orient themselves to their situation, get some perspective on things. This is the Big Picture. This is where you are in that picture. Hopefully now, you know where to go. You have your bearings.
Oh, that we had something like this for our life.
“This is the Story in which you have found yourself. Here is how it got started. Here is where it went wrong. Here is what will happen next. Now this—this is the role you’ve been given. If you want to fulfill your destiny, this is what you must do. These are your cues. And here is how things are going to turn out in the end.”
You can discover the Story. Maybe not with perfect clarity, maybe not in the detail that we would like, but in greater clarity than most of us now have, and that would be worth the price of admission. I mean, to have some clarity would be gold right now. Wouldn’t it?