Our narratives

“Do we really know the two or three critical points in our lives that changed everything and made us the people we are today? Psychological science says no.” (read the post here).

My interest in this is directly connected with my meditations on “Who did Jesus save?”, or exactly who/what that gets to Heaven/Hell? The more I think about identity, self-identity in particular, the more my head spins. It is easy to take a macro level and say “this is me”, but upon further review every single thing I claim to be “me” is a socially constructed fantasy or delusion (not sure which is worse).

So, Christ came into the world, incarnated, to save me a sinner. Who exactly saves who? The problem of my identity applies to Jesus – exactly who is He, and how can he affect change on “me”?

One answer, a popular one I hear often, is that of storytelling. My story intersects with your story and the story of salvation (i.e the good news of Christ) and in that intersection there is Life. But am I capable of telling my own story?

This afternoon I was at a meeting, and I recorded it (as I usually do). As I was listening back I noticed how bloody loud was the Xerox machine in another room! During the meeting I was not aware of it at all, but in the recording it really is disturbing and even made some comments hard to hear. My point is that this is what happens with our stories – we block out the “noise” and by doing so get this very strange feeling of deliberateness and direction in our lives.

This then opens me up to the conversation about how God brought me here….well I am not so sure God brought me anywhere. This is not really the kind of God I feel comfortable in describing. It is a little too easy and pre-packaged. A little too antiseptic and bourgeois. A very convenient God.

For me, though, God is inconvenient. A fear-inducing, overwhelming presence that disrupts just as often arranges and organizes; destructs just as easily as constructs and builds; blows through my barriers just as often as He spreads His wings to shelter me.

How to reconcile this with the neatly laid out story that is my life? How to look into my secret heart?


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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