While authors craft their stories, they spend a lot of time with those who populate the pages, and good authors put effort into creating “real” characters. In fact, authors may begin to feel that they know their characters as if they were real!
But authors construct much more than characters. They have to think about time and transitions, location and looks. Tiny details can affect the story in big ways. With that in mind, I wonder sometimes…what would happen if an author could enter the world of his story as if it were the real world?
Let’s imagine it like this. You are the author of a fantastic tale. Suddenly, you find yourself swept into it. The world of your imagination has become ice-cream-sundae real!
At long last, you can talk with your characters face to face. Of course, you relish meeting them and exploring the land in which they live. How could it be otherwise? Eventually, though, you begin to notice something funny. You know all about these people, but they seem to know nothing about you. That wouldn’t be surprising if you were just some random person, but your fingerprints are clearly all over this place. When you venture to ask one of your favorite characters – the gluten-free girl who runs the caramel apple shop in town and has that darling dog – if she knows how she came to be, she raises an eyebrow and responds, “Oh, I’ve always been here!”
No you haven’t, you think to yourself. It took me a lot of work to get you here!
You think many versions of those thoughts over the next few days because everyone responds the same way in this world of your imagination. Even the man who captains boat cruises during the day and catches criminals by night!
The same thing happens when you mention the beautiful landscapes – like how the hills dip at just the right places and the trees grow thick amidst the rocky terrain. “Oh, yes, it’s stunning!” a woman responds. “Isn’t it amazing that the glaciers made it that way? And, of course, we thank the bears for planting the vegetation!”
Glaciers! Well, yes, they did carve the terrain that way, but I was the one who planned that all out! And the bears? Sure they help, but, uh, they didn’t decide to plant oak trees there in the first place. Those came before the berries, you know. Maybe my people aren’t as smart as I thought!
After a while, you can’t take it anymore. “It wasn’t the glaciers or the bears or the river ways or the eons that gave you this place, it was me!”
Instead of a glimmer of recognition in their eyes, you see only stares that speak, “That’s impossible.”
Ok, maybe that wasn’t the most fun version of jumping into your own book, but this idea has been tumbling around in my head. My question is: Are we – as characters in the story of life – ever like the characters in that imaginary story? Do we ever forget the One who is not only plotting each detail of our lives but is also the Master Artist behind the scenery that surrounds us – the sunrises, hills, trees, flowers, lakes, clouds, stars – and so much more?
Summer is a special time for enjoying this beauty and living new chapters of our adventures – at least in my book. As we wrap up this season and give it away to Autumn, I hope we take time to know and applaud our Author and Illustrator Jesus, “[f]or by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together,” (Colossians 1:16-17, ESV).