Pastor Zach posed an interesting question this week: What if we could see the script of our child’s life before he was born and God gave us five minutes to erase or make changes? Would we take out the bad stuff? Would we protect our child from an illness or accident or hurtful relationship?
The challenge, of course, is that if you change one thing, it changes everything after that. Life’s struggles are a meaningful part of becoming our best selves. Without those experiences, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow from them. If left to us, we probably wouldn’t choose to write into the script the difficult or painful situations. But facing adversity is part of what helps us become the person God wants us to be. Our experience can then also help someone else we meet down the road.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting artist David Small. David’s painful life journey inspired his critically-acclaimed graphic novel Stitches. The scene that has stayed on my mind is one of David as a child sitting on the floor with paper and crayons in front of him. He rests his head on the paper and begins to literally sink into the paper through the floor, burrowing himself head first into a world he created, to escape the world he lived in. Creating his autobiography in graphic form, years after that childhood moment, helped David deal with and heal from his horrid, abusive past.
Author Sarah Stewart says our real life experiences are what inspire writers’ stories.
David’s sweet wife, author Sarah Stewart, shared a story about the real-life Mexican woman who inspired her latest picture book, The Quiet Place. Sarah said that all writers draw from their own life experience (including the people they meet along the way) to write their stories. This has certainly been true for me. Every book or song I’ve written has been based in some part on my own life experience or that of the people around me. And each one has brought some form of healing—to me or another.
When I write fiction, I have a hard time giving my characters obstacles to overcome—I’m too eager for the happy ending. But I know Oz is much brighter after you make it through the Dark Forest.
Blessings often grow out of dark places.
So this month, as colored leaves drop to the ground signaling another change of season, I’ve been thinking about life scripts. In the past three weeks, three people in my life—two friends and an aunt—died. Another friend separated from her husband after 24 years of marriage. Still another is battling depression. Would I change their story? If my first husband hadn’t died, we might have celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary this month. But if he had lived, I wouldn’t be celebrating my first wedding anniversary with Geno next month.
We don’t always agree with the script as it’s playing out. And many, many times, we ask for the ability to revise it.
If given the chance, would you revise your own life script? Would the new version be as interesting?
Karen’s life experience is intertwined with her roles as a wife, mom, stepmom, writer, publisher, photographer, traveler, and woman of faith. All these elements tend to make their way into her blog posts.
“Writers have to write. It’s something deep inside us that pushes and pushes until we let it out. It’s part of the air we breathe, this need to make sense of the world around us and to somehow find the right words to express and influence the way we each feel and interact and love and live.”—Writing is Risky Business