We all tell ourselves stories. Sometimes they are true, and sometimes they are not.
It doesn’t seem to matter much if the stories we tell ourselves are true or not. The important question is, do we believe them?
If we do, then they shape our lives and ultimately our actions (and inactions) more than we might care to admit.
Those around us are pretty good at straightening us out, however. They do this by tossing the stories they’ve been telling themselves in our face. “You quit your job to start a business? Are you crazy?”
Or how about this one: “You’re going to marry who?”
Then, of course, comes the time when our own carefully nurtured stories, told over and over to ourselves, are challenged.
“It’s a Christmas card from your brother Dave, with a picture of his new business headquarters. He says they made a million dollars last year.”
Or this one: “It’s an email from Missy. She says Bubba wants her to wait on the kids and finish college, first.”
It’s not only individuals who tell themselves stories. Cultures tell themselves stories, too. The people alive at the time America emerged from the foundry of history told themselves a story that went much like this. An all-powerful, Creator-God formed the earth and everything in it, including men and women. When our lives here are over he will hold us accountable for the way we lived our lives and the relationship we had with him during our time on earth.
Today our culture tells itself a different story. First there was nothing. Then out of nothing emerged the big bang. Life is an accident. Humanity is a cancer. And when it’s over there is nothing.
Same people. Same place. Different time. Two very different stories, and as we now see through the looking glass of hindsight, two very different cultures.
Today we are still a mixture of the two stories. Some of us tell ourselves the first story. Others the second story.
Are not the stories we tell ourselves based upon the larger stories our culture tells itself?
Creator-God. Cosmic Hiccup.
Upon which story do you base the stories you tell yourself? And what difference might that make in the way you live your life?
One thing seems odd to me, however. Two such different cultural stories, yet two powerful similarities. In both cases, something came from nothing. And both tell a tale of a final, cataclysmic end.
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