The concept of our lives being stories has been haunting me lately. I keep coming across it in conversation, in class and in books. The idea is basically that our lives are telling a story whether we realize it or not. In his book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” Donald Miller decides that what makes a good story also makes a good life, and I think I agree with him. He says that a story in its most basic form is “a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.”
I would also argue that it takes some depth to make a story good as well. Take “Twilight,” for example. Most of us would agree that it isn’t the best story ever. The writing isn’t very good and it lacks depth. Bella wants Edward and thus overcomes the conflict of her being human to get him. And it goes on like that for four novels. End of story. The books that endure with audiences broader than teenage girls contain stories that resonate with us on a deeper level. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is about a young girl coming of age, realizing how cruel people can be but still desiring to find some good and sense in the world. Its message reaches our hearts because we feel those desires as well.
I think as college students, and maybe just as humans, we tend to fall into a rut in our day-to-day lives. For example, I wake up around 7 a.m. every morning. I drink some tea, eat cereal, go to class, eat lunch, go to more classes, go to work, eat dinner, do homework (sometimes), watch TV with my roommates and go to sleep. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I rarely shake anything up. My story gets boring. Likewise, I can just want to “have a good time,” but that’s going to get old, or I’m going to get old eventually. And then what? I will have lived a life that only revolved around me; there’s nothing fulfilling about that.
I’m always amazed by people who are so passionate about something that they run after it as hard as they can. Martin Luther King Jr. was a character who wanted something for himself and others and overcame massive amounts of conflict to get it. And we love his story because it’s inspiring, because its message of freedom and equality resonates with us. His story has and will live on for a long time.
I’m merely suggesting that we start to live our lives a little more intentionally and a lot more aware of the world around us.
You don’t have to be Martin Luther King Jr. Simply tell your story with enthusiasm and involve other people. Maybe think about your life a little today. What things spark your passion? How can you connect with other people in a more meaningful way? Make your story one worth reading.
Megan Massey is a religious studies senior from Mount Olive. Follow her on Twitter @megan_massey.