Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Arc

I spend a lot of time thinking about story arcs.  I'm a writer, you see.  I can't say I'm an "author" (yet) because I haven't been published.  At least, not for my books.  Not yet.  It's coming, I tell you, and, don't worry, you'll be among the first to know when it happens.  :)  I'll be shouting it from the proverbial rooftops; you can count on it.

In the meantime - in the here and now and yesterdays and futures - I dwell in the possibilities of rainbow-shaped journeys through time and space and development.  There has to be a beginning, a place from which to start.  There's always a middle, filled with the delicious tension that makes you sit on the edge of your seat, hungering for resolution and wondering what will happen next.  And then there's the end, which is never really an end, the glorious resolution that highlights just how far your character has come.

Stories have plots, of course, but that's not what hooks us.  Plots, or action, don't keep us engaged.  Not really.  Not beyond a two-hour attention-span so succinctly provided by movies.  If you want us to invest, we have to engage with the people, the characters you write.  Because books, like lives, are only interesting to us because of the relationships they call us into.

What will happen to _____?  Will she live, will he die, will they fall in love?  You get the idea.  The 'how' is interesting, but it's not what keeps us reading.

So, I think about people and characters and their arcs.  Today, while I was reflecting on my own life, I realized there's a precious story arc happening right here in living color, in the little house I call home on Blackfoot Trail.  In the messiness of 'working it out' daily, I am changed, evolved, matured.

This sounds pedestrian, I know.  Simplistic.  Like something we all know.  But I'm sharing because it's helpful to reflect on the yesterdays and todays and possible tomorrows.  I'm sharing because, sometimes, we need to get a picture of the rainbow to remember the covenant.*  In short, I'm sharing because, today in particular, I need the encouragement of the knowledge that this is a journey, that I'm not stuck, that there is a process that leads somewhere really good.

So here you go, my personal story arc, in sketch form:

I was...

  • short-sighted
  • a money-worshipper
  • a believer that success equaled a certain kind of house, a certain kind of job/education/intellect, a certain kind of community, a certain kind of ability to travel and spend and own
  • whiny, always needing to know 'why?' and 'why me?'
I am...
  • thankful for every little bit we have, which isn't much
  • a God-worshipper; I know that I know that I know that HE will provide, no matter what I do or do not do; that HE owns the cattle on a thousand hills; that money comes and goes - it's what we do with it in-between the comings and goings that matters
  • learning how to redefine success; I'm beginning to see it as a life lived in dependence, a life lived with authenticity and openness, a life that can be moved for His purposes in His time
  • less whiny.  I need to know 'why?' much less than I used to.  Now, I primarily feel resigned to the fact that God's going to do what God's going to do.  Once I've done everything in my power to get my heart as clean as possible before Him, and once I've done everything in my power to walk in obedience (as much as I can discern what that means), then, well, there's nothing more I can do.  The rest is up to Him.  If things aren't coming together the way I want them to, that's not my problem.  It's on Him.  My job is to wait and watch.  He'll reveal His purposes in His time.
Could that be what PEACE means?  Could that be what it is to walk in peace, to be okay with waiting and having absolutely no control?  To allow yourself to operate more like an observer and less like a director, to follow rather than lead, to rent rather than own?  And to be okay with it?

I'm not sure yet, but I do know that I am so different than I used to be.  This post doesn't even come close to illustrating the changes He's worked in me.  I don't have enough words.  But I do have this word: thankful.  I am so, so thankful.  I want to be the person on this side of the arc.  And all the conflicts and 'tensions' He put in my path along the way are nothing compared to the joy and freedom I have now.  

I want the fullness.

Let it be.

*Genesis 9:13

1 comment:

  1. The most important part of the story/journey is in the middle - isn't it!!!