I read an interesting article in Sojourner’s magazine the other night called “The Story of Your Life: What fiction teaches us about what’s real“. The essence of the article questions what our lives would be like if at the end of each year or the end of our life we had that same sense of fulfillment that we get after watching a feel-good movie or reading a feel-good book. At the end of such story we leave feeling inspired, feeling better about life, feeling that great things are possible. “The principles of a good story are just this: a character who wants something and is willing to overcome conflict to get it.”
But the article is quick to point out that what is wanted matters a great deal. We wouldn’t have the same sense of fulfillment if the thing acquired was simply a nice new car. There are many things that we need to acquire to live and work. But they don’t make the story. They’re tools for accomplishing the story.
A fulfilling story needs to be something that is ambitious and puts us at risk. It needs to be something that makes a positive difference for others. But the most wonderful part of this is that these stories don’t have to end in a “victory” to be inspiring. We don’t have to change the world, we just have to step out and take a chance to make a difference.
What ultimately makes the difference is that by hearing each others’ inspiring stories, we change our moral compass of what matters. Driving and listening to commercial radio today, I was reminded of how many messages we hear that try to convince us that acquiring the tools, whether we need them or not, IS the story.
Which reminded me of this article; and of the many people around me who tell such blessed stories of inspiration, of hope, of real meaning. And I am thankful…