Friday, September 2, 2011

My purpose

Warning: If you want to bawl your eyes out, read A Dog's Purpose, by Bruce Cameron. I don't normally do book reviews on my blog, but this book grabbed me by the heart. It made me regret every harsh word I have ever spoken to any dog. Do not read this book if you have not been the absolute perfect owner of a dog for every second, and don't read it if you have ever treated any dog, even the hopeless smelly mutt that tried to eat your child, with anything but kindness.  I am not sure that is what the author had in mind, but the result of me reading this book was guilt. Then I went to my two sleeping dogs, and woke them up with my kisses and hugs. They did not seem as thrilled as you might think.

This is the main difference between my book and other dog books. My book is happy. It starts sad, but it ends happy. I am beginning to think happy is not the way to go...afterall, this Bruce Cameron dude is a NY Times bestseller. Heart wrenching sad sells. And sex. That's not in my book either. And deviant behavior...sickness works well with the reading public too. Sick, Sex and Sad are the winning literary combination.

And I don't get that, because in my opinion, there is enough sadness already stitched into every fiber of real life. Why escape to a fictional world that makes sobs heave like vomit from my soul?

ON the happier side of the day, a friend dropped off a synopsis of a true story that an acquaintance of hers wanted turned into a book. The writer didn't feel she had the skill to tell the story in book form, and was seeking a possible ghost writer. I agreed to read it with that in mind. It was a sad story that ended happily, and miraculously. The writer had me engrossed in her story with just her summary.

"This is not a story I could write," I told her, "There are too many details that it would take too much time for me to try to draw out. For a true story to come alive, you need to hear what the people actually said, feel the emotions you felt, hear the background noises, smell the scents....This is a story you need to write, and one you have all the tools to write. Just expand what you put in the summary. I will help you when you are ready to publish."

So many stories there are! Each of us has a story, and given the right twist, they are all of inestimable worth and interest. And nearly every culture has tried in some way, to put their story in a form that future people could read. Even the pictographs on the caves of  ancient men told the story of their life. What is it that makes us want to preserve in story what we have experienced?

God obviously felt the same need. He spent thousands of years employing ghost writers to tell His story, to compile His book. And the ghost authors were, by and large, just regular people. They were just like you and me. There was the occasional  oddball who was a king with 500 horses and 2,000 wives and huge palaces, but most of the authors were just like you, just like me. God's book, like most bestsellers, does have that literary magic three, sickness, sex, and sad... but like my book, He gives us a happy ending. In the end, He heals the sick, sanctifies sex in its proper confines, and dries every tear from our eye. He doesn't leave us sobbing with guilt, but comforts us with redemption.

So why did He use ghost writers? Why didn't He tell His true story Himself, carving it on the very earth He placed us on or searing it into the sun? I don't know for sure, but this is my humble guess. God wanted ordinary people to experience His extraordinary tale, and tell it in a way that the most simple of us could relate, could understand. And in each case, the ghost writer told his corner of the tale that he himself had lived. The story was about God, but the writer told of his encounter with God, in his own words.

As I closed The Dog's Purpose, and settled my head against my soggy pillow, I thought about my purpose. Of course, that is probably what Bruce Cameron was, in the end, hoping I would do. And I thought my purpose is to live my story in such a way that it brings comfort and joy to those around me and glory to my creator. In a way, it is not unlike what my dogs sleeping at me feet, desire. Usually they do it better than me, but by God's grace, I am giving it my best shot.

Exodus 9:16
16 But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are ready for "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein....