Life is about rewriting the story of our lives. This is true on a personal level, but also as communities and as a country we need to be constantly rewriting. The 2020 pandemic has forced us into rewriting our script of living.
“You need to do the best that you can do, and then you need to take the best that you can do, and you need to rewrite it, and rewrite it, and rewrite it, and rewrite it,” – These are the words of author David Sedaris. Authors will admit it: Mastering the art of the rewriting is essential for any writer.
Mastering the art of rewriting is also an essential truth about our lives. I believe living is about rewriting. Whether you are aware of it or don’t think about it much, you have a relationship with your life. And like any other relationship, you have your ups and downs, realistic and unrealistic expectations, you have wonderful and terrible times that you have to work through, and times when you learned a lot of life and times you tried your best to forget. Your life with whom you have an intense relationship becomes your story.
Every one of us has a story; if you don’t have a story to tell, you don’t have a life either. Our lives are filled with a lot of events — events that impacted us, events that we are ashamed of, events that energised us and also events with a lot of emotional baggage, events that you remembered and events you tried your best to forget. We tend to line up events to fit the narrative we’ve created; the narrative becomes the foundation on which we build and maintain the relationship with our lives.
Our communities and country are filled with events and these become their story.
Can I change my story? Is it possible to rewrite my story? Yes, I believe it is possible to change my story or to rewrite it. It is also possible to rewrite the stories of our communities as well as the story of our country. Sometimes we need a pandemic forcing us to rewrite our story, also the story of our community and country.
Chime Asonye of the World Economic Forum said: “As we weigh our personal and political responses to this pandemic, the language we employ matters. It helps to shape and reinforce our understanding of the world and the ways in which we choose to approach it. The analytic frame embodied by the persistent discussion of the ‘new normal’ helps bring order to our current turbulence, but it should not be the lens through which we examine today’s crisis. Far from describing the status quo, evoking the ‘new normal’ does not allow us to deal with the totality of our present reality. It first impedes personal psychological wellbeing, then ignores the fact that ‘normal’ is not working for a majority of society”.
We have to rewrite our way of living; the way we organise our communities and the way we do politics. The ‘new normal’ discourse sanitises the idea that our present is okay because normal is regular. Our challenge now, is to accept life under the omnipresent threat of disease as ordinary. But nothing is normal about this! Really? If this is now our new reality, our normal, then we are supposed to have take control of the situation. We are expected to get used to it — accepting that this is are new way of living.
As believers we discover that when we surrender to God he rewrites our story, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Allowing ourselves to cope means acceptance and rewriting our way of doing things. Mastering the art of the rewriting is now essential for everyone. Enjoy the rewriting of your story.
By Hannes Theron, former Senior Pastor of Helderberg DRC, Cape Town, South Africa and Board Member of Cinnamon Network SA