The Real Life Book Club

STORYBOOK DAVE

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?

8 thoughts on “The Real Life Book Club

  1. Interesting metaphor. I like it.

    My feeling is that my story is not a book – it’s more an aphorism that finds its way into other stories. A motto like Kusunoki Masashige’s “Hirihokenten”, pointing the way to a message – but, to paraphrase Buddha – the pointing finger is not the message. It is merely a finger.

    Useful certainly, but intrinsically valuable only to a certain purpose.

    The truth, as I see it, is that I have much more the single-dimensioned nature of a motto than the rich texture of a story. The story-images that I have tried to see and interpret are as real as the reflection of a banana in a mirror, and my trying to access them is akin to the monkey trying to grab the reflection.

    Is the ‘me’ today really even relevant? Part of it, surely, otherwise this life would be pointless. But I am suspecting that I am indeed defined by my actions (cf. James’ epistle, which Martin Luther hated), and that personality and individual character are artifacts superimposed on the deep meaning that God created as ‘me’.

    • Andrew, you think deeply about life and your reflections are always thought-provoking. You and I both see in a glass darkly. One day we shall see deeply into the mysteries that now elude us.
      I just want you to know that I see your life as relevant and valuable. I am thankful that God has written you into my story.and that He has given me the gift of community with you.
      Thanks, Andrew.

      .

  2. Hi Dave,

    Your articles are always thought provoking and I love them.

    I’ll be sure to purchase your book when it’s published!

    I think a hyphen is proper (in the 5th paragraph) to make it read

    “cobbled-together narrative”. Just my thought but here’s some

    info I found on hyphens and you can decide.

    Hope you don’t mind my xsuggestions.

    https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/576/01/

    Bob

    • By golly, you are right, Mr. Bob. I shall add the missing hyphen.
      You are a Jedi Master of language and I thank you for sharing your knowledge.
      Thank you for you kind comments, too,
      I will sign my book for you and add a personal message, but I might need you to edit my comments!

  3. Dave, as a writer, I love your mentions of various aspects of story craft. 🙂 So valid with this post! As a reader, I love the word pictures you paint! God is the Author and Main Character of our stories. And I love that He writes a story with each of our lives.

    It seems like when I seek Him and live fully in each moment (which usually involves community), that’s when my story seems most vibrantly alive. Perhaps it’s not an exciting read to others, but it’s the story God’s writing with and in my life and that makes it enough.

    Community has helped me find and live my story with interaction. Speaking truth and encouragement into the daily-ness of my story, and allowing me to do the same for them. Coming alongside and lifting me when life presses hard on me. By offering gifts of friendship and entering into that relationship with me. I’m not quite explaining what I’m trying to convey, but I love your analogy here. Thank you!

  4. “It seems like when I seek Him and live fully in each moment (which usually involves community), that’s when my story seems most vibrantly alive.”
    That’s EXACTLY IT, Jeanne!
    I have spent far too long season with limited participation in intentional spiritual community, Living fully in each moment has been much more difficult for me. I think the Author is showing me that I need to encounter Him in spiritual community. I need more participation in a real life book club.if I am to interpret, understand and live the story He is writing.
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I so appreciate your contribution to the conversation.

  5. I can relate to walking off the pages only to find out you’re a character with no story. Walking away is liberating, then scary. Guess that’s why the Israelites grumbled about following Moses out of Egypt. The unknown. I’m keeping this in mind as I let go of some things (that seem for sure) so I can take hold of other things that don’t seem so for sure. As always, I appreciate your insight.

  6. You know, Kim, this is one of those occasions when you have enlightened me about the message of my own post. When God lead’s us out of oppression, we don’t immediately know how to live in freedom. There is something comfortably familiar about the slavery we know. Trusting the God who offers us liberty is something we have to learn one step at time .It’s a process. I think your mention of the exodus exposed in my own heart the restless discontent of someone who must take another sandy step of faith in his journey of freedom.
    I so appreciate your comments.

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