On Being the Main Character

When you’re reading a good book that really hooks you, or watching a good TV show or movie…What sort of experience do we hope to read or listen to or watch for the main character or characters? Do we want them to wake up every day, go to work, have a stress-free day, come home, and go to bed with no problems? Then get back up the next day and do it all again, day in and day out, week in and week out, month to year to lifetime?

I think most of us would say that’s a hella boring program and wouldn’t make it past the first season. No one’s interested in the program where someone’s life has no drama, flux, chaos, or problems to solve. So why do we expect our lives to somehow be different, and see that as the measure of success, I wonder? Why don’t we have an appreciation for the problems that arise as giving spice and meaning to an existence that would grow stale if we become too adept at keeping things from going wrong? What is it about our character that we abhor any sort of shifts while we find it interesting in others, even horrific problems? I don’t want to go into extremes like warfare, genocide, fatal disease…But then, I kind of do. Movies and books all touch on these subjects as well for entertainment and while the experience is horrific to imagine being in it’s also something that we explore to a lesser degree of our own free choice every time we open a book or watch a movie featuring that plot. Seeing the accounts of others in these situations gives us a window to experiences we dare not touch and even potential wisdom from the right perspectives.

There’s spice to problems, drama, and chaos, so long as it doesn’t actually touch us. Yet when they do touch us there’s always opportunities for growth. So why are we so resistant to problems and vulnerability when the muscle of one’s Self has the potential to flex and grow stronger? How important is comfort really and do we all really want to be the main character of a story where everything is perfect and no one grows because there are never any problems?

Can we learn to appreciate all of the flavors of life? The bitter tang of disappointment along with the sweet flavors of success? To see every story as a work of art, vinegar and sugar both worth tasting? Surely that’s how God would see things.

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