The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.
Today and tomorrow are yet to be said.
The chances, the changes are all yours to make.
The mold of your life is in your hands to break.
Stories have the power to inspire us, move us to tears, level us, and shape us. How individuals see the story of their life shapes how they see themselves. Some are stuck in the first few chapters while others live out certain themes over and over again or spend their lives trying to change the direction that their story has taken.
I was talking with someone recently who had been talking with his wife about the hard time she gave him when they were dating regarding her parents. There were a variety of rules and expectations for each visit. She was very angry not only that these expectations weren’t met by her future husband, but there would also be a great deal of anger at him not knowing he should be doing these things. One day he noticed that many of the “must dos” were not so important anymore. So he good naturedly poked her about it and she stopped and paused. She said, “I guess I just wanted them to really like you and see you the way I did.” In that moment, his past was changed. That time that felt so unfair and frustrating was a period where his future wife greatly appreciated him and longed for her family to see how amazing he was in her eyes. Now he could have stayed caught up in the unfairness of it or she could have responded defensively to the prod, but because they felt safe with one another they heard their hearts and in that moment they knew each other better and saw their past differently. We do have the power at times to change our past and in so doing we change our future as well.
There was an old movie called the “Truman Show” starring Jim Carrey. The premise was a reality show in which the main character is the star without knowing it. He is born and raised in a fictional town filled with actors but he is the only one that doesn’t know it. There are cameras everywhere and people have tuned in his whole life to watch his daily activities. The catch- in order to keep the show running they have to make sure that he remains in this fictional town, so they stage a boating accident that kills his father and use various other fear tactics and subtle suggestions to make him settle for the life that he has and fear leaving his town.
The past can form a toxic story that puts us in cages rather than encouraging us to fly. I have often been amazed and dumbfounded to hear a person’s story and witness how almost systematically the events in a person’s life have taught them to give up or surrender. A person who was taught to be fearful takes a step of faith and life hammers her for it or another is taught to take no pride in his work and then later in life allows himself a moment of pride over his accomplishment only to get slammed for his “arrogance.”
But what a great line Tolkien writes, “The mold of your life is in your hands to break.” It takes courage to break the mold of one’s life; it is often a slow and painful process, not quickly rewarded. This is probably why so many stay committed to the narrative that they have been given.