Hollywood, or what comes out of it, can be a subtle evangelist for the New Thinking, that is, that we create our own reality. The film depicts a story within a story, which is often the best kind. Harold Crick is an IRS agent leading a dull, boring life that is stuffed with numbers and empty of passion. He hears a voice that is narrating this dull life but one day the voice announces, that little does he know, he will meet his imminent death. So Harold, with the help of a literary professor, sets out to change the plot of his life. One of the best lines in the movie occurs when the professor asks Harold if the narrator has informed him when or how he will die and Harold says no, to which the prof. replies, "Dramatic irony...it'll fuck you every time." Yes.
In this movie there were two pieces of wisdom that captured my imagination. One, we are the main characters in our own stories and they need to be interesting only to us, no one else. If our story isn't keeping us engaged, it's time to shake up the plot, do something we've always wanted to do, reinvent ourselves, give ourselves some character by meeting the challenges in our lives with a little temerity and a lot of integrity.
The second piece of wisdom comes toward the end of the movie. It turns out that an author is writing a book in which Harold is the main character. After having found this author, he tries to convince her not to kill him in the book. But when Harold reads the ending, he realizes that this is the way the book needs to end, that it is a lovely ending, and that he wouldn't change a thing.
The author says to the professor, "A man who meets his death willingly, with equanimity--isn't this a man you would want to live?" So she changes the ending. Harold not only lives, but lives anew and lives well.
And this got me thinking about Jesus' story, about a man who met his death willingly, with equaminity, who, in the end, went along with the denouement as planned--wouldn't those who wrote his story also want this sort of man to live? And indeed, he did live on and still does, in their lives and in all those with whom the Story was shared. More than anything, it is the story of Jesus that first claimed me, that I still can't let go of.
And isn't that how we all live on, through our story as part of the larger Story? I know I'm not writing anything new, but all the same it is an epiphany in my consciousness. In my family there are stories we tell of those gone before us, and I wonder, what stories will my children and grandchildren tell of me?
What stories will be told of you?