Because they’re reading the story you’re living

It’s Saturday morning and I consider selling my children to passing traders. It’s a Bad Day. There are tantrums and tears. (From the boys, too.) I want to backspace. Rewrite. Ctrl-Alt-Del. Today is not a good story.

I’m reading about Aristotle and storytelling because this book I’m writing – it’s part memoir, part motivation. It’s about time, potential and changing the world. It’s about how when life happens things break on the outside and things break on the inside and what we do with that determines the fullness of our lives. It’s changing me and I hope that when I’m done it will change you. Either way, I want it to be worship: True. Excellent. Beautiful.

So Aristotle – he was born 384 years before the greatest story ever told. The story of a King born low to live astounding love beneath stars he flung. To die a promised death nailed to a tree he seeded. To rise so that we could be free. But Aristotle knew a thing or three about what every good story needs:

Ethos – because a good story is credible and it has credentials. It’s tried and trustworthy. True.

Logos – because a good story is compelling and clear and hinged upon logical connectors. There’s structure and evidence and theme. Excellent.

Pathos – because a good story moves and inspires and opens the heart. Beautiful.

So in the quiet hours of weekday morning sun I work the words to mix colours and shape textures so that I can stand back and see art. But no matter how I channel the chapters into truth – excellence – beauty – there’s no guarantee that anyone other than me will read them.

But the pages that fill the rest of the week? Pages scrawled with getting them to school without toothpaste on their foreheads? Pages of traffic and teatime snacks and bath time and bedtime and stories and smiles and Cam brandishing a tinfoil sword and Scott hiding in the fridge? They’re reading every word on those pages.

On Saturday night I’m given strict instructions to stay in the boys’ bedroom. I pretend that I can’t hear the stage whispers discussing my mother’s day gift being wrapped in the study. I pretend that I have no idea of the cards being coloured and sticky-taped. And I think how much I love-love-love being their mom. How they’re a book I can’t put down and how magical it is to be one of the characters. I think how astounding it is that God has written a matchless plot for each of their lives. I think about how no measureable success – no bestseller read by billions – can compare to immeasurable success – the full story read by few. And I think about how much I want to pen every page of my hidden story with the ethos, logos and pathos that write the future.

. . .

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3 comments

  1. Your writing is beautiful & your story is encouraging. Keep writing, keep living a life of joy & wonder, keep bringing glory to God!

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  2. […] So I tell myself what I’ve been telling myself all year – that obedience is the goal. The end result. The tick of success. Did God say, write this book? Then, um, write this book. Worship, I tell myself, in spirit and truth. Trust God for wisdom. Ask him to arrest my heart to want to want to honour only him. Surrender my flaws. Cling to his perfection. Let every sentence be a yes to truth, excellence and beauty. […]

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