This post is inspired by Wordpress for listing some great ideas for blogging. The idea was, if your life was a book, would you read it? If you chose to read it, you have to read it from cover to cover.
This made me think. I’ve had some “interesting” things happen to me in my life. However, is it a story of amazing tragedy, triumph over the impossible, or an unforgettable love story? Nope! While all three of these things happened in my life, do these single or multiple episodes make up a scintillating best seller? Probably not. Would it be a dust collector? Depends on my level of commitment to market the heck out of it, and I don’t see that happening.
I think it is hard for us to look at our own lives and think that it would be an interesting read for others. The grass is always greener effect seems to be in play here. There are those amazing stories you hear about, like war heroes, hostage situations, abuse, love that conquered all, and inspirational comebacks, but again, these are time stamps on the fabric of what makes up a lifetime. Does it mean that person’s entire lifetime is remarkable? Most likely, the vast majority of us are not Mother Theresa’s, Nelson Mandela’s, or Ghandi, and thus fall short of a lifetime of remarkable. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have something valuable and worthwhile to share, even if it is a little snippet of your life line, and not the entirety of it.
I look at imparting what I’ve learned to my children as a way of making all of the good and bad things that transpired in my life to be meaningful. I look at imparting to others, whether it is words of wisdom, encouragement, sympathy, or constructive criticism as a way to bring my past experiences richness, fullness, and worth. The greatest joy of being a parent is when you hear your child share with one of their friends words of wisdom you have imparted to them. It brings validation and a sense of purpose to all that forms the story of your life. It is in these living pages, where reality isn’t fiction, but a hard won truth that will live on long after you are gone; these are the moments that make your story worth reading, even if that is the only page anyone ever sees.
As an author, I love words. I love holding a book in my hand and being transported to another place. What I realized though, while contemplating the blog post suggestion of a book of our lives, is it isn’t the words that make the story of our lives; it is the people we encounter and leave changed, or that change us that are the real story. The living pages of what shapes our personality, our character, our integrity, or our future. When you look at it like that, my life is an open book. Easy to read for the most part, with drama, intrigue, passion, vulnerability, struggles, temptations, short-comings, joy, and triumphs. All the messy bits of life that make us unique, special, and worth knowing. People through the ages have tried to have their name memorialized in stone, in music, in print, etc., but I think the real legacy is how many people have been positively impacted by us. They carry a tiny piece of us with them, and in turn, mix it with a part of themselves and pass it on to another. We keep living long after we have ceased to draw breath.
While I have no desire to write the story of my life, I certainly want to keep adding living pages to my timeline on this earth. If it indelibly touches another, then it is the most powerful story every told. In that way, I will be a best-selling author, even if I never collect a single royalty from it.