Story is Still Fundamental

Over the course of writing this blog (over ten years now!), I’ve taken several unplanned, accidental hiatuses, initiated by quantum randomness and sustained by the easy inertia of just not writing. But nine months to the day from my last post, I’ve finally decided I should take up the pen again, as it were.

Firstly, it’s high time I mark the passing of my ten year blog anniversary. Life is strange: in one sense a lot has happened both in me and in my life circumstances in that time period, but in another sense, very little has changed. I kicked off this venture at a pivotal philosophical turning point. My initial post was called “Story,” and it was my attempt to articulate how a simple revelation drastically altered my outlook both on myself and the world. For the first time in my life, I had a holistic framework in which to view the world and my own life, and which integrated my faith into both: narrative. Viewed as a story—with chapters, characters, and most importantly a purpose—everything finally felt like it went together, belonged together. Nothing in this world, in the universe, or in the darkness of my heart—or even in the brightness of heaven—was unrelated to anything else. It’s all connected because it’s all part of the same grand narrative, under the purview of the same Author.

I knew how revolutionary and important this concept would be to my outlook, so I named my blog after it: One World Story. And in an important sense, that’s the guiding hermeneutic for much of what I’ve written and will continue to write. Story is fundamental.

But what has my personal story, my little sub-plot, looked like for the last ten years? I’ve worked at the same company the entire time, though my position has changed a couple times. I’ve lived in the same house for over eight of those years, though I’ve cycled through a few tenants in my basement apartment. I planted a church the same year I started the blog and have been in that same church ever since, though we’ve moved locations a couple times and—not insignificantly—went from being Anglican to Orthodox. So there have been changes of degree and progression in the midst of fairly remarkable external stability. Looking back, I’m thankful for this. But this year may have some changes in store that will shake up that external stasis just a bit, and I’m thankful for that, too.

Whatever my circumstances though, and whatever my story looks like from an outside vantage, I know that my inner life always has a running story, too. My heart and soul learn things along the way, experience joys and pains, grow, sometimes shrink back, and then grow again, maybe in a different direction. The outer and inner stories are of course related; and while only the outer story can really be seen and told with any representative accuracy, I think the inner story is almost the more real.

At the end of this world, when sub-plots have ceased and the final chapter of the one world story reaches its last page, what will survive to the next volume? I think it’s precisely our inner stories that will make us the characters we will be and become in the next volume, and the volume after that, unto volumes of volumes, series without end. Amen.

So this is a reminder to me to attend to my inner story, even when I’m tempted to be preoccupied only with my outer story. In the midst of changing and budding jobs and relationships, in what ways am I steering my heart, tending my soul? May God guide my stories.

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