Monday, June 2, 2014

What if Life Were Like Books?

One beautiful summer day, we returned home from an outing to find a rather gruesome scene. In one of our bird feeders, two little birds were trapped - one was still alive, but the other had died. Trapped in what was supposed to be a place to nourish the little bird, it met its demise. 

It was really tragic (and we got rid of that bird feeder), but think about if it were in a book... it would definitely be some sort of symbol or foreshadowing of something awful to come. 

And the sad thing (for me) is that I find myself thinking like that more often than one should.  I mean, a few weeks ago, a small sinkhole appeared in our backyard and I thought, is this a sign? That maybe all my hopes and dreams are about to sink down in the depths of the earth?*

Too dramatic? I admit that I tend to see the glass half-empty (I think that's fairly obvious from my initial, internal reaction), but think about it... how many of you remember hour-long mandatory discussions on symbolism in the various books you read for High School Lit class?  

So, let's have a little fun and apply that to the Real World in which we live:

A couple of years ago, we had a lot of trees taken down in our yard, and afterward the sight was kind of depressing. Stumps everywhere, the ground churned up by the heavy machinery, it looked raw and ravaged.  Now, at this point in our Real World Novel, life would be in turmoil for the protagonist. Perhaps his barn just burned down, taking all his livestock with it, or her husband just confessed to having an affair with his secretary, or the little kids were just orphaned and having to find their way through life alone. Needless to say, this view (minus the cute kids) would rarely go with something happy in a story:

But then, here's a different one: We had an ice storm right before Christmas (in 2013), and we had a tree fall in the backyard.  Miraculously, this tree fell right between our playset and our shed, just missing either one by inches.  It actually fell at the perfect place so as not to cause any structural damage to either one.  At this point in our Novel, things are working out for our protagonist!  She's on the road to recovery from addiction, he got the new job just at the right moment to pay his mortgage, and the young boy punched the bully in his nose and gained some respect. Here's where we see God's provision and the miraculous happen:

And, then, this one: Sometime after our 5th anniversary, the diamond fell out of my wife's engagement ring. Whoa... I know what you're thinking. Me too. I mean, surely our marriage was destined to fail after that. The stone had been loose, and she'd been "meaning" to have it fixed, but what if she'd actually never intended to? Or, what if the diamond somehow intuitively knew that it was all over, and just leapt from the ring to the floor in an attempt to get out before it "ended up in a pawn shop." I'm sorry to say, if this happened in a book, it would signify the end of the relationship.

Well, almost 6 years later, we're still married, so I guess that foreshadowing/symbolism wasn't true, thank goodness!  But, do you see what I mean about this? I'm pretty sure we're wired to see symbols and signs, but it can get a little dangerous. So learn from me, and take everything that happens to you with a grain of salt - it might mean something, but odds are, it probably doesn't.

*Come to find out, the reason for the "sinkhole" was the the previous owner of our home had buried a metal barrel and the top just rusted through. Weird.

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