Emboldened by the story of Jacob, a thought begin forming in my mind so subtle, I’d almost missed it: Life is about to get interesting again!
It wasn’t only Jacob who inspired this wisp of hope in me. As I thought about the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, the Upanishads and holy books from many other spiritual traditions, I began wondering if I hadn’t previously been missing the obvious: God apparently likes a really good story. Depending on which chapter of which book you read, it is all about being oppressed, finding faith, acting with courage, being challenged, journeying out of bondage into the Promised Land. Then there are other themes: loving others unconditionally, standing up to injustice, forgiving one’s self and others, redemption, and more.
These stories provide templates for our own lives, showing us the way to a life fulfilling its full potential. Who wants to read a tale in which the heroine allows herself to become passively victimized by life’s circumstances, refuses to take risks in a vain effort to hold on to the status quo, and settles for misery and mediocrity day after day? There really had to be something more.
This “something more” was, in fact, the meaning-making enterprise which is at the heart of the soul-infused life. Victor Frankl speaks of this in Man’s Search for Meaning, his seminal book about the Holocaust. The central human question for him was why some survivors held onto their faith in God and a zest for life, despite the horrors they experienced, while others became resigned or bitter. Those who were able to emerge spiritually intact had what boils down to a talent for meaning-making.
I was back in meaning-making mode today, no longer thinking about how much longer I could hang on by my fingernails. Instead, I found myself wondering what kind of a story God wanted my life to be?
Chapter 14 from The Year I Saved My (downsized) Soul  by Carol Orsborn
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