"So now I pray
That You would write my story
That night and day
My heart would burn for You..."
- Air Five
One day, a few years ago I visited a dear friend in his office. He is a best selling author and I was both inspired, and fascinated, by what I discovered. Inspired as a spiritual thinker, and fascinated as a writer.
At the time, he was deeply engaged in the writing of his latest book and spread across one wall was a chart laying out every character's movements through the course of the book's timeline. Even those characters who would only show up for one scene, the ending, or just a small skirmish in the middle of the book, had a full lifeline. He knew where each character was... whether their name appeared on the page during that moment or not. He was invested in their character development, their life's course...what they were doing, eating, seeing...who they were loving or arguing with...regardless of their placement in the story, throughout the entire life of the story.
He was the author, and the characters in his book were fully developed, fully resourced, fully cared for by him no matter where, when, or how often they appeared in the breadth of the book's storyline, or how "important" they appeared to be...to the reader.
Many years ago I heard a lecture by a very distinguished spiritual teacher from Australia. During the course of his talk, he briefly referred to God as "the great Author" in our life stories. I don't remember him elaborating on the point beyond saying that the characters in God's stories can't step off the page He has put them on, and strike out on their own. They can't screw up (I'm sure those weren't his words), they can't decide to be something different than what the Author intended, they can't take on battles or initiate plotlines that are not in the Author's story. I loved this way of thinking about my own life. I was locked in God's version of my story...not my own.
Standing in my friend's office that day I could see how invested the Author is...in each of His characters. None of His characters gets put on the shelf while other characters have exciting chapters, not one of His characters is left to languish in Chapter 3 while the hero is successfully brandishing a light saber "against the wiles of the devil" in Chapter 8. There are no throw-away characters in our Author's divine story. Each of us is fully developed, fully known, and fully written in on His story wall.
He doesn't wait for us to prove we are worth writing into the story...the fact that we are in the story at all, proves we are already known, and loved, by this Author. He doesn't ask us to weigh in on our own potential success as a character, He doesn't wait until we leap off the page to write a really good scene for us. He, and He alone is the "author and finisher" of our story.
When I am reading a good book, I don't wonder if the character in the story who is waiting at the bus stop has bus fare. If he is at the bus stop, I am sure that the author has written the ability to pay the bus fare into the character's identity. If the character lives in a Manhattan loft and summers (don't you love it when seasons become verbs...my friend Kelly and I can't wait until we can authentically use "summer" and "winter" as verbs...in the first person...in our conversations...but I digress) in the Hamptons, I don't wonder if she can play her mortgage, furnish the loft, or find transportation to a tennis weekend in South Hampton...it's part and parcel to the Author's intent for the character, and he gets to write the story any way He likes.
Our Author is a good Guy. He only writes good stories with good, well-sourced and clearly intended characters....us.
My brother was visiting yesterday and while he was here we took the time to hang a hand-painted sign on the archway into our kitchen that says..."Home is where the story begins".
Since I dwell in Him...in God...He is my "home". Since my story dwells in the heart and the mind of The Author, I am safe and secure, sound and well-intentioned. Every character written into this story with me is developed and sustained...word by word, line by line, chapter by chapter...by an Author who weaves a tale that is always...and only...good. We live and move and have our being in His intent, in His Mind...we can't escape the goodness of this story...we can't climb off the page and jump into another book. We are securely held on these pages by this Author....and He knows us. Whether our role in a particular chapter seems (to us...or others) critical, minor, or altogether silent...He has us in Mind and never lets us go. We live on His story wall and it's a good place to be. And in my story, He is always the Hero.
Write my story dear Father...I trust your intent for me.
Always your daughter...