We’ve heard the song, sung the words, and pondered their meaning.
Will our names be in the Book of Life…
Billions of folks have passed from this life into the next. And none of us knows how many have filled the pages. But one thing is sure: each name has a person behind it. An individual just waiting for his or her story to be told.
Good or bad, nice or ugly, happy or sad. The story is there to unwrap like a Christmas present that has been strategically concealed one box inside of another until we reach the very center where the gift is hiding, ready to be enjoyed. The nugget of gold.
As writers, we have a duty. It is our responsibility to tell the stories that we have been given to tell. I think each of us knows that very moment when the first story was placed so firmly on our hearts that we knew instantly it had to be told. It was no longer a question: am I a writer? But an edict.
We must relate the story.
We can think of it as a mini-call up yonder. There is this name, Jane or John Doe. And her or his story is simmering. The voices are crowding each other like hundreds of helium balloons on a ceiling, jockeying for position. The noise doesn’t stop. Not until you put their words on paper, release the voices from your head.
Now, if you’re a non-writer reading this, you may have already called for help for me. After all, normal folks don’t hear voices, right? Wrong. What is abnormal for many, is quite normal for a writer. We have folks living in our heads nonstop. And they can’t wait to step out onto the page. Their stories must be told. They come with baggage. They aren’t perfect.
But “you’re a Christian writer!” you shout. “They must all be nice and live perfect lives.”
Ah, if only that were, in fact, real life. But it isn’t. Christian characters come with flaws, with baggage of all kinds: sometimes alcohol, sometimes eating disorders, sometimes divorce, sometimes things too horrid to relate in this blog. And, yes, sometimes they are sugary sweet. But come they do, marching in line with baggage attached like metal balls and chains.
And why is that? Because that, my friends, is real life.
When the roll is called, none of us, not one, knows for sure whose name will be written in the book. We believe. We try. We stumble. We get back up with forgiveness. But we do our best.
Just like our characters should believe, try, stumble, seek forgiveness, but do their best.
So help a character find his or her voice. Write that story that was entrusted to your heart.
And when the virtual roll is called, hopefully your character’s life will have unfolded.