From The Divine, Fate and The Stories We Tell Ourselves: An Invitation to Live

You are not you and I am not me.

At least not to other people. 

Who we are inside our heads is not the same as the ‘we’ that exists in the minds of others. As Patrick Rothfuss wrote, “everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time.” 

In the tapestry of lives you have weaved through connections, an old version of yourself still occupies space in the memory of a forgotten acquaintance—still the nosy girl from high school and evermore the drama queen. Yet, who we are to the world doesn’t matter as much as who we are to ourselves. 

For most of humanity, all that will ever remain are the stories told of us—the magnitude of our being, captured in a few hundred syllables, to stand as proof that we, too, existed at a certain point in time in the precise alignment of our universe.   

When all is said and done, would you be happy with the story told of you? 

Like Reading Through a First Draft

In 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, Arnold Samuelson took upon himself the journey of a lifetime, where, as deckhand to The Pilar and protégé to the literary titan Hemingway himself, Samuelson would capture in his journal one brief line owing to the respite of a generation of artists to come. 

“The first draft of anything is shit.” 

—Ernest Hemingway

All writing begins with a first draft. Then, you wade your way through the muck and the noise and hope you find what meshes well. 

In some sense, we experience life like reading through a first draft—an unfinished story where moments build on each other to determine an outcome, where there is faith that the good and the bad work in unison for the better. 

I don’t know how much hand we play in all of this. But I do know that we are born into stories. They are an integral part of human life, no less than the air that fills our lungs or the governing axioms that move in our survival. We rise, fall, live, and die in the stories we tell ourselves. 

They play a role in how we go through life, shaping our minds and adjusting the lenses we use to see the world. The greatest of them took place two thousand years ago on the cross, and against it, every other story is measured, including ours. 

‘It Is Written.’ (or something like that) 

“Maktub,” the merchant said … “In your language, it would be something like ‘It is written.’ ” 

(Excerpt from Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist)

Life stretches from seconds into days, months into years, but we only get to dip our hands in the moment, the now. 

It is those obscure points between the present and the future that lead us, in faith, to marvel at the God who looks down on all of creation and to ask the age-old question, “What do You have in store for me?”

Moving through life is like traveling an uncharted path where boulders roll on occasion, and falling over is an inevitability—all of that while peeking through a blindfold. 

If fate would have it, you’d know the trail before you embarked on the journey. But there are no maps written for where you’re going. 

I believe in God, and maybe you do, too. From the Divine, fate, and the stories we tell ourselves—this is an invitation to live. To grow. To expand our lives into something generous.