I'm Not the Center of the Story
There is an exquisite loneliness which tracks my heart each and every day during this season. Most often, it surrounds me like a fog, diminishing my vision and sometimes my hope. If I believe the lie, each day would seem like the one before, an endless loop of resignation that offers the repetition of scenery, dialogue, character, and plot.
This is not a script I've written for myself.
The work of redemption is God's to unfold in my life and story - yet I answer the call to take my role in this film. After some scenes, I feel as tired as Luke Skywalker looks in the final scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Perhaps, I think, the look is one of wisdom and weightiness as he is offered his old light sabre once more.
I thought that life - that script - was all finished...dead and buried.
Currently, I am undergoing a deconstruction at the hands of my Father, the Director. It is both a disruptive and painful endeavor of demolition and rehabilitation. This ain't Method Acting. None of the old actors are being given any lines for me to take my cues from. The wise and cunning Master Scriptwriter - the Spirit of God - is not wasting words for sake of action.
My role - the one I used to think I was starring in - is not the one I was born to play or the one I'm now being given to play.
Imagine being handed a script for a movie that you love - a film you've seen countless times and one that you can quote nearly all the dialogue from. You know the lighting, the scene structure, and are intimate with the plot and the other actors. You open the script book to find...everything has changed. The script you are reading - and your role - has nothing to do with what you remembered or loved about the film that was sacred to you.
I'm not the center of the story. I am not the Hero.
I could deluge my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind, and will with all the drugs and porn and food and isolation and rage and shame that I want. The Enemy of God uses all the old scripts to advantage in the sound stages of silence in my heart, in the moments where the more I seek wants to put me back into the center of the story. More likely, perhaps, the weasel of a man we all inherited from Adam in the Garden of Eden - the Oscar winning Poser - will come online and demand a return to center stage.
It's the same hubris and arrogance that got Lucifer tossed from Heaven, his evil company of bad actors thrown down after him.
As Jesus looks at me (mostly in silence and with a fierce compassion in His eyes that makes me feel as if I'm five years old instead of fifty-four) and continues to hand me bit lines and movements relegated to being an extra in the background, I am both fascinated and furious. "CUT!!" I want to scream. "DON'T YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?!?!" All around me a major production is unfolding - an epic story on the scale of eternity - and I am once more surrounded by the fog, this insidious voice of lies inside that sounds like greasy and soulless talent agent:
'Bounce from this bullshit...you're better than this...you used to be marquee and now you're bit parts...God's a lousy director...go indie, make your own movie...you're a star, remember?'
The image of Luke's face in the final scene of the movie haunts me, even though I know in my bones and balls that the hero in him will awaken and return for the next pages of the story as it unfolds. But he is not the center of the story...and I'm not the center of God's Larger Story. That role belongs to the One who it was written for. I am a character in His story...and I have a crucial role to play, one that belongs to no one else and cannot be filled by anyone else.
I'm not the center of the story. I am not the Hero. I think I like who I am becoming...in His story, in my life within His Life.
"Father," I say with humility and a hope that seems new, "can we give this scene another take? I'd like to try it your way." A silence covers the set as the Director stands ready. The Master Scriptwriter relaxes in His chair, no need to look down for the line. I take a deep breath and align myself to the beating of my heart. The fog lifts...the sun begins to shine.
Jesus steps closer, just out of frame. He is the Hero. I reach out and take the light sabre from Him. He looks into my eyes with confidence and truth.
"Action," He commands.
Yes, action. The Story continues...and more will be revealed.
JOHN FONTAINE, Writer @ Large