back on the shelf


It's been said that there are only half a dozen stories.  The claim is that writers only recycle and reimagine the basic plotlines that have existed for hundreds of years. 

Obviously, six is an arbitrary number.  Still, I think it's important to remember that most stories do share a kind of creative DNA.  Whether that DNA is labeled "quest," "metamorphosis," or "forbidden love," every story is a combination of utterly unique detail and shared structure.

It seems that stories have been a part of God's plan for his creation from the beginning.  And I do mean the beginning: "And God said, 'Let there be light."  The first storyteller.  The first story.

He's been telling stories ever since.

I've found that I cannot comprehend my own life or the universe in which I live apart from stories.    There are the big stories: creation, fall, redemption.  There are stories within those stories, like the deliverance, wandering, and homecoming of the Hebrew people after slavery in Egypt.

And then there are the stories God is telling in every single human life.

Like those found in Scriptures, myths and novels, these human stories are beautifully unique in their details, but they too participate in the shared elements of story.  Creation.  Fall.  Redemption.  Romantic  Pursuit and Love.  Deliverance.  Wandering.  Homecoming.

I often wish I could smooth away all the complications in my life.  I pray for God's blessing and hope he keeps tragedy at bay.  But, I know that if my wishes always came true I would be left with a life that is no life at all.  With a life that tells no story.

Which do you prefer: the blank page of a comfortable existence? 

Or, a work of art?

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