I want to write a story,
I said.
A good story,
with good people,
a tale that winds on pleasant paths,
that makes me gasp
and smile
and breathe a happy sigh
at the end.

So far, so good. And it only gets better. Keep reading. I found this poem on Dorcas Smucker’s blog: Life in the Shoe. I know you’ll love it as much as I do.

All right,
they said,
those conference speakers
come from the mysterious
world of Publishing.
And also my friend Pat,
practical and kind,
who writes Fiction,
first you need
All right.
And, Godlike, I created
out of nothing but
words and
the memories of all the people
God had already made
and let me meet.
I liked these humans
I had made–
two teenage girls
full of spunk and fun
mischief and potential.
Now what? I said
and I was told that
I must now
make my precious Characters
face hard and painful things
and even suffer
and not know what to do.
I must get them up a tree
and throw rocks at them
must have the reader
shedding tears.
But why? I cried
I like these characters
love them, even,
these humans made of words
that I’ve created.
Why must they not only
meet a gentle obstacle or two
easily hurdled,
but also be rejected
suffer loss
be disappointed
suffer pain,
and in the blackest moments
lose all hope?
They looked at me
kind eyes that knew,
and said,
It’s not a story
if you don’t.
The reader needs the Characters
to struggle and keep on,
through all the hard,
to try new ways,
when none of it makes sense,
to cling to hope
when all is hopeless,
and finally,
at the end,
to overcome.
All right,
I said,
and as I formed the story I
sadly forced my precious Characters
to be rejected
and suffer pain
and not know what to do.
But what an unexpected joy
to make them triumph in the end
and find them wiser than before
resilient yet still
their fun and lively selves.

As I typed and edited
manipulated time
chose events
and shaped my characters
I came to see
that my attempts
and even those bestselling books
from conference speakers
are only knockoff paperback
flimsy imitations
of the vast and overarching
Story we are part of
all around us
behind and beyond us in time.
This is the most epic of Epic Sagas
and we are characters
struggling trying hoping
learning growing wondering
what on Earth is going on
suffering crying and
ultimately triumphing.
He is the Storyteller
shaping the narrative
and allowing his beloved characters
made not of words but
flesh and blood and soul
to face dilemmas
and obstacles
to face black nights of hopelessness
because the Story matters
and He’s already
typed the ending
and He knows
that on the final page
both He and we will triumph,
overcome all obstacles
destroy the enemies
and looking back
breathe a happy sigh
it all makes sense
and all the suffering mattered
We will see
how all the threads connect
and all the meaningless frustrations
were actually clues
and all the pain and suffering
mattered more than we
could even dream.
Behind the scenes and
hidden from our vision
were crowds and armies
cheering us and
battling wild fights
on our behalf.
The hopeless nights had purpose
in chapters that couldn’t
any other way.

The Author knows
what He’s about
and I a minor character
face my daily challenges
and pain,
and I give thanks
to be included in this story
and that
the ending is already typed,
edited and published,
and we win.

Re-posted with permission from Dorcas Smucker

I heard this song for the first time the day after reading Dorcas’ poem, and I loved the pairing of two thoughts – chasing after God when no one else is watching (from the song) and the idea that when I think no one else is watching… well, as Dorcas said:

Behind the scenes and
hidden from our vision
were crowds and armies
cheering us and
battling wild fights
on our behalf.


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