Friday, December 23, 2011

story of my life

i'm convinced that the best storytellers don't actually know where they're going--they just start writing/speaking, and slowly they piece together a captivating tale...

sometimes words fail us. sometimes things must be said, but finding the words is unimaginable. and yet words come. the words come, and maybe you have no idea what they mean...and yet, they still give you a meaning. it's in these moments where i often find myself saying that a particular situation is the "story of my life." they are the occurrences that seem to follow me around, and yet i cannot for the life of me understand how or why they keep happening.

lately i've been forced to think much about stories--about my story, my family's story, the story of the Church, the story of Jesus.

i've been reading a new fiction book (yay! no school!) that's part of the genre called 'magical realism.' it's hard to explain, but the basic premise is that the magical can happen in the world as we know it. fantastical occurrences aren't just magic; they are the everyday, blending in with our lives so that often we don't even notice it's craziness or absurdity.

i think that's the story of my life.

jesus' story is ripe for some magical realism analysis. in the spirit of this advent/christmas season, i've been re-reading the story of jesus' birth. some of my favorite fantasical moments include: an angel strangely greets you, scaring the mess outta you, and then proceeds to tell you you're going to have the SON OF GOD(!!!) even though you're a virgin; mary responding to this scandalous news with joy and praise (say what?) at getting to do the will of God; angels appearing to the poor shepherds--just trying to do their job, folks--who are thus justifiably TERRIFIED (what exactly do these angels look like anyways? i'm getting concerned...); joseph being told in a dream to flee with his newborn and wife, oh ya know, cause the king is trying to kill. your. baby. seriously, people--what is this ridiculousness?!? then i remind myself that i believe this is all REAL LIFE.

i don't know about you, but i'd much rather serve a God that embraces the extraordinary and fantastic inside the ordinary. because that's the real story of my life--the story of a God who exalts the meek and humble, who uses ordinary people in deceptively extraordinary ways. my story is inherently fantastical and magical in that it obscures and hides its wonder in the very ordinary things that i often overlook.

there's a reason Jesus speaks in parables and stories...magical realism, folks. that'll preach.