Words of Wellness

February 22, 2009 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner

The Scripts of Our Lives

The 81st Annual Academy Awards extravaganza this past Sunday night is a reminder of what an important role movies play in our culture.† Movies have become the dominant cultural stories of our time.† Like stories, movies come in every genre:† comedy, drama, family, and kids to name just a few.† Some movies are simply for entertainment, while others embody and teach important values about character, relationships and meaning.†

†††† It takes the creative work of many different kinds of talent to produce a movie.† In fact the Oscar statue has a five sprocket movie reel on its base to symbolize the five professions that work together to create a movie:† Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians.†† While each of these is essential to the making of a movie, the whole process starts with the writer.† Without a writer, without a script, none of the other roles would ever be needed.

†††† Have you ever stopped to think if someone made a movie of your life, what it would be like?† What would it be called?† Would it be a comedy, drama, tragedy or a mystery?!† Now imagine that because this is the story of your life, only you can be the scriptwriter for this film.† What would you write?† What details would you be sure to include?† What details would you be sure to leave out? Would you play yourself or would you cast someone else in the lead role?

†††† It is fairly safe to say that none of us will actually ever be asked to write a script about our life for Hollywood, but the truth is, you and I are writing the script of our lives each and every day.† Day by day we make the same kinds of decisions about our lives that any scriptwriter makes about their movie.† Who will be the main characters in our script?† Will the relationships between the lead actor and the other cast members be marked by compassion or conflict?† How will the lead actor and his/her significant relationships evolve over time and what will their character development look like?†† What values and belief systems will influence the choices that the lead actor and the others make? †

†††† When we are young, others are the primary scriptwriters for our lives.† Our families, along with our culture, write all kinds of important details into our scripts:† our name, where we grow up, what it means to be a boy/girl, what loving relationships looks like, whether others can be trusted and what gives life its greatest meaning and purpose.† A turning point begins to emerge in adolescence and young adulthood (which helps to explain why this is often a tumultuous time in families) as a young person begins the awkward transition to adulthood by first beginning to make their own choices about the script and stories of their lives.† They begin to experiment with not just being a character in someone else's script, but trying out a leading role in their own script.† They begin to decide what "characters" they will bring in and out of their young life story.† This process continues throughout one's adult life, and in fact a vibrant life is usually characterized by a life-long commitment to creative writing and living.† Throughout life we continue to make† major choices about our life script, integrating and adapting all that we have learned, and expanding our script to give it our own unique voice.†

†††† So how is the story/movie of your life going these days?† Are you excited or bored by it?† Are you content or frustrated?† Whatever you may be feeling, the good news is that the movie of your life has not yet been released in the theaters, because it's not finished yet!† The story/movie is still being written.† Are you unhappy in an important relationship in your life?†† Are you unhappy in your work?† Have you lost a sense of purpose or meaning in your life?† That means it is time to expand and rewrite your script rather than passively continue to act out a role that is not fulfilling.† We cannot write a new beginning, but we can begin writing a new ending today. †

†††† Our freedom to write and rewrite the scripts of our lives is one of the greatest gifts we have been given.† These words are meant to serve as a reminder that no matter what script or story we find ourselves living out at this moment, we have the freedom and the power to begin to rewrite it and expand that script any time we choose.† And remember that the greatest award for a well-written, and well-lived life, is not an Oscar, but rather the peace and joy that comes to us and our loved ones when we dare to dream and create such a life.

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