I recently wrote about spiritual journeys. In that context, I was interested to see a blog post on “The Quest for a Good Life” in which Andy Tix describes his life as a sacred journey. He tells a little of the story of his life, and describes the themes that he sometimes uses to interpret that story–anxious awareness of death, secular affirmation of human worth, or autonomy/achievement. He then uses Frederick Buechner’s “The Sacred Journey” to describe the theme he prefers to use as an interpretive lens, one of God-soaked grace. It’s a nice reflection on the different ways we can interpret our journeys.
Life consists of stories. By this, I don’t mean that we all read stories or watch stories or hear stories, but rather that we live stories. More than likely, we don’t live a single story either; instead, we integrate different stories, mostly based on our experiences with life, which typically are disparate.
Dan McAdams, a professor at Northwestern University, has scientifically studied stories, or life narratives, as he sometimes puts it, more than anyone. According to McAdams, a life story includes a reconstructed past, perceived present, and anticipated future. It includes a cast of characters, key experiences, and unifying threads. A critical assumption of narrative theory and narrative therapy is that the stories that most dominant our thought lives typically are the stories that most shape our destinies. If we somehow change our dominant internal stories, our lives change.
It is profound to reflect on the stories that most influence…
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