Identity. It’s the start of so much in our lives. Who we see ourselves as (victim or victor, affluent or scraping by, etc.) plays a large role in how we approach our lives and the different circumstances that arise. What story do you see yourself as being a part in, and what’s your role in that story? What part do you play in the grand scheme of things, in your eyes? Your answer to this question has a lot to do with how you take life and living.
When I was younger I spent a good bit of time in theatre. Our local music & drama society would put on a musical each spring, drawing talent from across the area. I was a part of Oliver!, The Music Man, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Annie, The Sound of Music, Camelot, and Anne of Green Gables (a few others, also). I didn’t often have a particularly important role in these plays. I held the strings that Oliver drew the long one from in the play of that name, so I guess you could say that without my small role the rest would never have happened. Still, it was a small role. Generally just a person in the background, or in the chorus, I was a name knight in Camelot (Sir Sagramore), and I was Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables.
Each of these plays told a story. Maybe three times, the story of an orphan finding a family and rising from a life of near-poverty to a privileged position. Once, the story of a man (a “music” man) learning something about real life values. Once, the story of a man going from privilege to poverty, to privilege, to poverty, to privilege. Of a woman discovering the truth of what God had for her life, rather than the fantasy she had been seeking. Of the importance of ideals, of partaking of and striving for ideals with like-minded people – yet the fragility of such dreams. My parts in these stories was often small, as I said above, yet still vital.
There’s something different about such stage plays that doesn’t ring of the truth of real life. In real life, everybody has a story. People’s stories intersect, certainly, and we play parts in each other’s stories, but at the same time as we influence other’s stories they are influencing our story. Sometimes people feel like their life is just a shadow of someone else’s life; sometimes people feel like they play second fiddle in the story of their own life. Usually, though, each of us feels like we’re the primary player and the protagonist that the story is about.
So what’s your story? Where are you coming from, and where are you heading to? What is the route you’re traveling to get there? Is it the journey you always dreamed of? the one you had hoped/thought you’d be on? What makes it so? What parts have you played in other people’s stories? What parts are you playing, now, in other people’s stories? Give some real thought to this, as you’re able. What kind of story is it? Tragic (are the odds you face overwhelming?), Comedic (are the challenges you face really just the quirks of your own personality?), Romantic (is your passion able to be met only through the reception of special graces and gifts?), Ironic (does your journey end where it began, but with the realization that you had everything you needed all along?). Consider too, what role does God play in your story? And with that, speculate on what role you play in God’s story.