"There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world." - Benedict XVI - Homily at the Mass for the Inauguration of his Pontificate - 24 April 2005

Friday, August 19, 2011

Choose your own adventure...

When I was a kid, I loved to read. The convent kind of got me out of the habit (strangely enough), but back then I read a lot. I went through certain "literary" phases before I decided to fall in love with classical literature. So I went from Berenstain Bears, to Boxcar Children, to those abbreviated classics, though I can't remember what the series was called. All of these, of course, I would read aloud to my grey miniature poodle, Pepper. One of my favorites (though, unfortunately, Pepper 's participation was a bit more limited because of the "language barrier") were the "choose your own adventure" books. Remember them? At a certain point the protagonist has to make a decision, and the reader gets to make it for him, so he turns to a certain page based on that choice and the story continues with more decisions until it reaches the end. I would read them, then go back and re-read them changing the decisions until I had read every possible story... or the second time around I would just read cover-to-cover to see what could have happened to my protagonist.

Many times we uses stories, books, as a metaphor for our own lives. But is seems that most of us differ in our opinions of how the story is actually written. As men and women of faith, we know that the Author of life is One, but what does he actually do with all that authoring? I personally, though I love writing, would get pretty bored or fed up if I had to invent billions of stories every day, and to fit each 80-or-so year long story into a millenniar time-line... that's a bit much. So we all know that our Author is infinite and almighty, and it's pretty easy for him, but cut me some slack because I'm just trying to make this a little more dramatic!

Still, it really is mind-boggling to think of how the life-stories are written, how life-stories - all of them, even the most tragic - are meant to be stories of joy and hope, how each one is meant to have a happy ending. Above all, the most staggering truth is that each and every story is meant to be a love story. So maybe they all aren't so sappy and romantic. I know mine isn't even though I myself am a pretty sappy romantic kind of person. 

I used to think that God having a plan for our lives meant that we had only two choices: the story He writes for me or the story I write for myself. I've come to realize that this is false. We do have two choices: the story that we write together, or the story that I write without Him. He didn't already write it, like an instruction manual and consign it to me at birth, or baptism, or confirmation or whatnot. This is the ultimate "choose your own adventure" story, because when we get to the point of, choose this and turn to page 25, choose that and turn to page 45, we can freely choose either one and the story continues it's marvelous and unique unfolding.

When we write the story together, sometimes he takes the pen, sometimes he gives it to us, somtimes he dictates how he wants it to proceed, sometimes he is silent and allows the creativity of his creature to flow. Most of the time, we have to talk about how we want the story to go. I tell him "Wouldn't it be cool if..." and he tells me "Yeah, that's pretty cool. But what about this...".

It's marvellous and unique. It's a real choose your own adventure. When we choose the adventure of love, the adventure of truth, the adventure of fidelity to ourselves and to our Creator, the adventure that is ultimately a living conversation with Him, then a kaleidoscopic explosion is bound to make this story the ultimate adventure.

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