I have become fascinated over the past several years about the importance of story as a means of inspiration and even formation in my life. Stories do more than entertain, they bring life to that which is dead, they drive truth home where no other medium can suffice. In all of this fascination with story, I have tried to write a compelling story for my life. A couple of years ago I had it all mapped out, the perfect fairy tale for my life. I had met a phenomenal woman whom I would make my wife. We would get married, I would graduate with my Ph.D., I would get a job and sweep my wife off to some exotic locale where I would teach and she would be free to pursue her dreams of more education, writing, whatever she wanted. We would have children and be the perfect parents.
The only thing I forgot to take into consideration is that in my own life, I am only a co-writer, sometimes a co-writer with a small role. I have little control over many aspects of my own story. Sure, much in this story has come to pass. I am married to the most wonderful wife a man could have. I have graduated with my Ph.D. and my life over the past couple of years has been one of the happiest periods of my life. Yet, the rest of the story has not been fulfilled. I have found all of my efforts to play the white knight and rescue my wife and sweep her off to some paradise frustrated. I have had to learn humility in my expectations for the job of my dreams, in fact any job in my field at the moment. Our desire for children has been put on hold. As Brooke said last night, “it seems like we are just spinning our wheels, working so hard, but not getting anywhere.” As Christopher Moltisanti of the Sopranos once said, “Where is my arc.” Brooke and I are having an “arc” problem, our stories seem to have stalled, and right now we seem to be only minor co-writers of our own story.
Yet, I was reminded today by Dennis Prager, that it is not in reaching the “promised lands" of our life - the perfect job, the perfect vacation, the perfect house – that we find happiness. Happiness comes from those with whom we travel in the wilderness. I have to say, if I must travel in the wilderness, as we must all do from time to time, I could have no better companion than my wife who brings great happiness to my life. I look forward to our “promised lands,” and I am sure we will reach many on our journey, but here’s to a good traveling companion.