The Real Life Book Club


I remember the time when I walked right out of the pages of my own story.

Well, it wasn’t exactly my story. That’s why I walked out.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Once upon a time, I was a composite character in a story being written collaboratively by several staff writers and a variety of freelancers. I was in the dual role of protagonist and editor. It was all very confusing. I just couldn’t make sense of the narrative.

Then one day the storybook cracked open just enough to let in a shaft of light. Suddenly. it dawned on me that this cobbled-together narrative wasn’t really my story. In another flash of insight, I realized that I didn’t have to retain the services of all those writers.

So, I stepped right off the pages, and I walked right out of the book.

Now that was liberating—until it occurred to me that I was now a character without a story.

Fortunately, when I looked around, I saw stories everywhere. I saw shelves and shelves of books with all kinds of fascinating titles and compelling storylines. I just needed to find an unfinished narrative that I could step right into.

But I was getting ahead of myself.

Before I could find my story, I had to find my character.

Enter the Author.

When the Author appeared, He introduced Himself as the Writer and Lead Character of my story. He immediately began telling me who I was and showing me the story He was writing.

When the Author opened up to me the book of my life, I leaped right onto those pages. I paid careful attention to every chapter, every page, and every line that He was writing. I eagerly anticipated the turning of every page–for a while.

But I still have a habit of getting ahead of myself.

The Author cares as much about character development as story development. But I lose patience with the process.

The Author writes powerful things into ordinary moments. But I’m busy flipping ahead a few chapters trying to get a glimpse of what’s coming.

The Author wants my undivided attention, but I keep peeking my head out of the book to look at all those other compelling stories.

Sometimes, I daydream a story of my own.

The story in my head is a pop-up book with bright colors and three dimensions. But the life I am living can be such a dry read that it’s often a struggle to keep from dozing off.

Recently the Author reminded me of something I had forgotten,. Reading, interpreting, understanding and living the story He is writing is a community endeavor. Community is like a book club where we all bring our stories and read them together in the Presence of the Author.  Spiritual community–inhabited by the Author–is where our flat, monotone stories pop up into three-dimensions and burst with bold colors.

I need to participate in a real life book club. How about you?

How has community helped you find and live your story?