stories and the story

Each life is a story. And each person, as they go about each day, writes that story of their life. Post modernity told us that we each were free to form the narrative of our lives with our language. Who I will be awaits to be seen,awaits me to form it. But what post modernity never told us, indeed, emphatically denied, was that each one of our life stories might be caught up in a story much bigger than ourselves. That history might not be simply an endless stream of brief flashes-of-life, each its own narrative here for just a moment and then gone forever, meaningful for the one it centred around for the duration of their life and then fading like a mist, but that history might itself be a story playing out to a conclusion.

This is, I feel, a great paradox in the modern day philosophy, perhaps on the wane anyway, that each of our lives is our own truth and story alone, and we form this narrative around ourselves, centred on ourselves, on finding ourselves and finding our place. Because we’re told and believe that this is what we want, but don’t we all have this deep longing to be a part of something bigger than ourselves as well? Isn’t that why, for all our self autonomy we rack up facebook friends, always checking in and getting updated, trying to stay as connected to everything as we can? Isn’t that why we keep going to read and watch those stories of Harry Potter and the Narnia kids and the like, those stories of a world beyond what we can see, of those epic battles between good and evil, and ordinary little people standing in the gap for what’s right? Isn’t that why the more each of us chase that dream of self autonomy and personal fulfillment, the more isolated and fragmented we feel, despite most of us living surrounded by more people than at any time in history?

There is an amazing story stretching from the dawn of history to its end, a story of incredible beauty and ugliness, betrayal, suffering, sacrifice, hope and love, from which all stories draw their existence. A story that catches all our stories up into it and invests them with eternal significance. Much like the Copernican Revolution several hundred years ago shifted people’s view from believing the Sun revolved around them to realising the earth revolved around the Sun, I’m starting to learn slowly to see that who God is and what he’s doing doesn’t revolve around me, but instead the story of my life revolves around his story, finding its centre in a man named Jesus Christ. And contrary to what you might expect, I’m finding great joy there.

It’s the greatest story ever told. You’re not the hero of the piece, and you’re not in control of the plot, but I would definitely recommend giving it a read.