Now that I’m retired, I have more time to think about stuff. I suppose thinking has advantages and disadvantages. I favor the former. When I’m in a reflective mood, sitting in a cushy chair in my home office (it’s a window office), I sometimes think about my “story.” We each have one, and it’s a real story about who we are, what we’ve done, our dreams, likes, friends, successes, regrets, decisions, villains, failures, hurts, and stuff like that.
I write down some of what I think about and publish it on social media. Those thoughts are part of my life’s story. Many of you are part of it too. Some of us have had long relationships, most formed during childhood, and others after years spent working together.
My story is a drama. What’s drama? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s “a verse or prose composition intended to portray life or a character or to tell a story, usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue, and typically designed for theatrical performance.” That’s too many words, so I’ve narrowed the definition to “drama is intended to portray life or tell a story involving conflicts and emotions.” That way, each of us is the star of our own action-adventure story.
Think for a minute about the pieces, the chapters, of your story. The past and the memories and secrets that are buried there. Evil pervades our stories from all the war, slavery, hate, and vicious acts against mankind we witness. What about the dangers and adventures you’ve had? And those that still await? Are there discoveries we haven’t yet made? Perhaps we have an important role to play in someone’s life or in an event yet to unfold. Spend five minutes reflecting, and suddenly the story starts to look exciting. And the good news is, it’s your story. You have an important role in much of the rest of what gets written.
But some of us don’t spend much time thinking about our story. We don’t know how it’s going to end, other than the dying part. What about all the chapters between now and when you die? Maybe we’ll just worry about that later? Don’t wait. The ending is so important—perhaps the most important part. If it wasn’t, there’d be no need to read the last chapter in a mystery novel or to watch the overtime period when our team is playing for the championship. If we don’t think about how our story ends, we won’t get to live it the way it deserves to be written.
Each of us has friends we enjoy spending time with. Do we know their story? Should you? Do they know ours? Should they? Perhaps the scariest of all is our kids’ story. How many of us know the story our kids’ lives tell and our part in it? I was surprised to learn that the part I thought I played in my kids’ story isn’t like the one they tell. That was a huge shock. And it’s some of the “stuff” I now have time to think about.
I fear our nation, churches, schools, corporations, and politicians have lost our story. I suppose it happened a little at a time, but it most definitely happened. We were founded on the basic beliefs that all people are created equal and have some basic rights like liberty, free speech, freedom of religion, and others. We aren’t like that today. Maybe we no longer see life as a story but rather as a game with winners and losers. And life is over when the game ends. I hope not.