I recently was looking for a quote to use as my Facebook status message. I came upon an email that I had gotten and found one that make me think a lot about life as we live it.
“Life is like a library owned by an author. In it are a few books, which he wrote himself, but most of them were written for him.” –Harry Emerson Fosdick
At first I thought it was just a neat way to think about the way our lives unfold, but then later on in the day, I read another book that approached life in a similar fashion.
“What if I actually am a character in a story? In one way, I already know that I am. If you were to ask my parents about me, you would have definite confirmation that I am indeed a character in many stories – only the stories happen to be theirs. Likewise, ask my friends, my clients, my co-workers – they’ll all tell stories about me.” – Robert P. Hopcke in his book “There Are No Accidents.”
So as I consider my initial thought, are our lives simply stories? And if so, are we the ones that determine the other characters, settings, plot lines, and so forth? Interesting thoughts to consider here on a Sunday afternoon.
I know I like to think I have some say-s0 with the events that occur in my life. The clothes I wear, the car I drive, the places I go, are all a part of what I think are conscious choices on my part. But then there are those times when I consider that the story line I’m following is not of my own making. It’s as if someone else has scripted the lines and left just enough room for me to improvise and make only subtle changes in the resulting events.
Just as an example: If you had told me ten years ago that I would be divorced, living on my own, teaching at the school I’m now employed, and reading and writing like there’s no tomorrow, I would have questioned your sanity. Yet here in the year 2009 that’s exactly what I find myself doing. Were there any things about the story that’s unfolded over the past seven and a half years that I could have changed? Were there parts of my life that I had no control over what so ever? All interesting thoughts to consider.
A big part of the answer to these questions for me come from the fact that I believe in a Higher Power whom I choose to call God. I believe He has a divine plan for my life and puts people in my life and sends me places where I need to do those things to fulfill his will for my life. Yes, there are many more trivial things that I do have control over, but many times they are truly inconsequential to the bigger picture of what my life’s all about.
I also know that God is aware of what events are going to transpire in our future and what we’ll need to be sustained and survived. It’s like our pathways are mainly directed by an entity other than ourselves and we are just adding touches here and there to make it more personal.
So no, I don’t think anything happens by mistake. I am a character in a story of so many other people’s lives and in each play an entirely different role than my story would have me to believe. My faith tells me that regardless of the circumstances, God is always present and will never abandon me nor deceive me. It’s a calming thought, whether my life is a story or not, that it’s all ultimately in His hands.