Usually I like (maybe even love) stories because I think they help us to evaluate real life. They can sometimes give a perspective that cannot be communicated as effectively in any other way. Jesus even found them helpful to illumine deep spiritual truths and if anyone would have a way with words, it would be him!
But this week, I started questioning how much time I spend with stories. Do they sometimes keep me from facing real life head on? Do I sometimes use them to skirt really difficult issues?
Last week, at school, it was an awareness week for orphans, especially those due to HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hear all of the speakers but even the couple I did hear told me things I would rather not hear. Like the number of children that are orphans in India and the high percentage of those that are forced to live on the street. Like the fact that 53% of 15-23 year olds in Swaziland are HIV positive and 20% of children in rural Swaziland are orphans due to AIDS. (And that’s just Swaziland! A tiny little country.) Like the fact that there is a genocide going on in Darfur that most of world is ignoring, just ten years since the ethnic cleansing Rwanda, and just a generation since the Holocaust. What happened to “never again”? And those were just the issues that I was forced to confront this past week alone. It hardens me a little bit, I think. These world problems are very overwhelming.
How do I face these issues and still keep my love for stories and their place in growing and understanding the world? I couldn’t sit down and work on my thriller script (my current writing project) after that. It just seemed to silly and superfluous.