What do life and novels have in common?
May 24, 2014
THE OBVIOUS STRUCK ME the other day.
The obvious always does.
It just takes a while.
Life is a lot like novels.
In fact, there is no difference between life and novels.
Life is one series of stories piled up on top of each other.
So it is with novels.
Everyone you see walking down the street is carrying a novel inside.
Everyone you see walking down the street is a novel, and all of us are the heroes of our own personal stories.
As long as we are alive, the stories go on.
Just think back for a moment.
All of the ingredients for a great novel has spilled out of your time on earth.
One scene of our life leads on to the next just as it does in a novel.
We have no idea where we are headed.
We don’t know what awaits us.
We cling to our memories as we step gingerly into the unknown.
But the pages keep turning.
We can’t stop them.
We might as well enjoy the read and the ride.
It has been said before, but God must have decided to make mankind in the first place because he loved stories.
Fighting back to live another day.
We are the stories, and the stories are all around us.
A Siberian elder once wrote: “If you don’t the trees, you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories, you may be lost in life.”
And Hans Christian Anderson pointed out: “Life itself in the most wonderful fairytale of all.”
He should know.
Here is what others have said about the art, the importance, and the necessity of storytelling:
“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in:” Harold Goddard.
“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories:” Ursula K. LeGuin
“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive:” Barry Lopez in Crow and Weasel
“We are lonesome animals. We spend all of our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story, begging the listener to say and to feel – ‘Yes, that is the way it is, or at least that is the way I feel it.’ You are not as alone as you thought:” John Steinbeck
“Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Consequently, stories often pack more punch than sermons. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story. Jesus did it. He called his stories ‘parables:’” Janet Litherland
Robert Fulghum even developed the Storyteller’s Creed:
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
We hear stories.
We tell stories.
We live stories.
We are stories.
And as Maya Angelou tells us, “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.”