Like the characters of books, and figures all through history, we all have good and bad stories we can tell about the way our lives shaped up. Maybe one of the secrets of living a contented life is to keep focusing on the best ones we have, even when the worst ones have the potential to really drag us down. If somebody asked which genre best describes your life, what would you say? A lighthearted comedy, a heavy drama, a feel-good romance, a page-turning adventure? Maybe we could reply, 'All of the above, in different ways.'
example, consider Bible hero Jacob. He was an elderly father, when he
arrived in Egypt with his family, was reunited with his son, Joseph, and
introduced to the Pharoah. The ruler asked how old he was, and this was
Jacob's reply. 'The years of my sojourning are 130 - a short and hard
life, not nearly as long as my ancestors were given.' (Genesis 47:9-10)
natural instinct may be to laugh at his opinion about the shortness of
his life, but I was thinking of his assessment about it being 'hard'. It's an
interesting statement, coming from a man who was chosen, just like his
father and grandfather, to be abundantly blessed. Since he was one of the three patriarchs, why would he choose to make such a glum declaration?
Jacob was visited by an angel and the ground upon which he lay was promised to
all of his descendants for years to come. His cheating uncle didn't
want to take him off the payroll, because it was obvious how abundantly
his flocks and herds were being blessed while Jacob worked for him.
Jacob inherited a birthright that didn't even start out being his. He was
clearly given precedence over his older twin brother, who didn't value
the things of God as highly. He had twelve fine, strong sons and two
women who loved him. (Well, at least two. Those maid servants may have
been fond of him too.) At the time of his return to his childhood land,
he was very wealthy, and made peace with his brother. When we hear
anything like, "You'll be like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," we get
excited, thinking that means great things will happen to us.
I get how Jacob could make the gloomy claim he did. Even a blessed life
doesn't mean sitting around living the good life every day. We each have more than one story we can tell.
This describes the same man. He was
treated as second best by his father, who favoured his brother. In
fact, he was given a name which meant 'heel' and had to live with it. He
had to flee his angry twin for fear of being murdered, and never saw
his beloved mother again. Tricked by his scheming uncle into working
hard for twice as long as he'd expected, he had to leave by stealth. He
lost his most beloved wife in childbirth. His daughter was raped. His
eldest son slept with his concubine and the next two went completely
berserk and massacred a whole group of people in a town. He was tricked
into thinking his favourite son had been savagely mauled to death by
wild animals, which grieved him for years until he found out he'd been
My own life could make a fairly dreary book about the woes of an insecure teenager who had one issue after another with peers at school. It could also be a 'poor us' bio about bringing up three kids on a really tight budget, or a tear-jerker about suffering multiple miscarriages. But on the other hand, it could be a laugh-out-loud saga about events in a homeschooling household, a feel-good adventure about being homeless and whizzing off in a caravan with a 9-year-old, 5-year-old and new born baby, or a reflective journal about my writing and publishing journey. I think I like those last ones the best.
What genre is your life?