I recently finished reading “Broken” by Karin Fossum. She’s a pretty great Norwegian author, I found simply by looking around at some best sellers from years gone by. Sidenote: I appreciated a book translated from another language – as it certainly seemed to have much less offensive language, even in the midst of very gritty situations.
In this book, there is an author attempting to write. She looks outside to see a line of characters for future stories that are to be written. But at the beginning of the book, one man cuts in line, and enters her home – pleading for her to begin writing his story.
There are great bits of dialogue, both internal and external, about what it means to “want” something for “our story”. Every other chapter or so, he enters the scene of her writing his story, and they talk about who he is, and where his story might lead. There is a thin tension existing between his ability to influence her, and her “big picture” telling of a story she feels is telling itself in many ways.
It reminded me of the role we play as parents. We do not write the story for our children. But it is our privilege and duty to frame their story within a larger story that is very worth telling. In the book, she reminds her character that he still has the ability to make his own choices, and he does this at one point. Her role is simply to give him the tools he needs, and a firm identity with which she can release him at the end of her novel into wherever else his life may lead.
Especially when our children are the young ages they are currently, our job is to make decisions on the larger aspects of plot development. What will this character value? What story will they have grown accustomed to thinking of themselves within? What questions do I want to instill as important for this character to be asking?
At one point in the story, the character asks the author why she didn’t at least give him a God. He has no faith background to handle what he’s going through, and he recognizes how beautiful it would be to have something like that in his story. Instead, he travels through much of the book feeling incomplete or “broken”, like a bridge that seems to lead nowhere. In fact, it was quite frustrating at times to read how his feelings of being incomplete were crippling his ability to live.
Altogether a great book. Every once in a while, may we imagine our children all grown up, looking over our shoulders as we type their childhood. They may give us some great advice. Even more so, may we hand over the typing to God Himself, as we find our stories written together by the Author and Perfecter of our faith…(Hebrews 12:2)