In case you didn’t know it, last night – April 8th – was this year’s ‘WrestleMania.’ No, I didn’t watch it, since I’m one cheap guy and refuse to pay for things like that. And no, the results of the matches aren’t important here at all. But there’s just one big point I want to make this month and here it is:
As unbelievable as it may sound to you, it turns out that professional wrestling is real.
No, really. Yes, I know that the ending to all the matches are predetermined. And of course they aren’t really doing some of things they seem to be doing, like leaping across the ring and smashing a knee into someone’s head. If you really did that you’d have a wrecked knee and a flattened head as well.
Happily, that’s not the kind of reality I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the reality of telling stories.
You see, what wrestling is really about is telling stories. Sure, they may be dumb stories, or stories that you’ve seen a million times, but they are still stories. Done right, each character has their own story and each match is part of a story that moves characters towards the preplanned end of that story.
There are good guys who are traditionally called “faces.” There are bad guys who are traditionally called “heels.” And there are “tweeners” who move back and forth between being a heel and a face and are a bit of both.
All of that combined gives you the structure to tell a story.
And that’s what’s real about wrestling; not the wrestling, but the story.
Because stories, even when they are made up, have a touch of reality about them. Every one of us is living out our story every day. Unlike actors or professional wrestlers, we don’t know exactly where our story is going or what will happen at the end. But we do know it’s all going somewhere.
Our personal stories have heroes and villains in them. And yes, we even have those who move back and forth between the two as well. Just watch your family, especially if you have a big one; you’ll see brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles move from face to heel and back again. In some families that’s rare, but in most it seems to happen on a fairly regular basis.
The real question I need to honestly answer is: Which one am I? A face or a heel?
It’s not quite as simple a question to answer as you might think. Because, while I want to see myself as the hero of my story, I have to admit that many – if not most – of my problems are caused (at least in part) by myself. So guess what? Quite often I’m the villain of my own story!
And then there’s the role I play in the stories of everyone else around me. Am I helping or hurting them? Am I hurting them by trying to help them too much and thus ending up an enabler? That’s heelish too because that’s not what good for them. It’s what makes me feel good. So in the end I often start out to be the face but end up being the heel because I’m doing what I want to do rather than what needs to be done.
And every time I make a choice or speak into someone’s life, I’m writing part of both of our stories. We are not passive in all this. Our choices create, shape and direct where our story is going. And we do the same every day for everyone we meet as well.
The reality is that while most of us will never be a published author, we are all storytellers and, more than that, story creators.
Keep that in mind the next time you are about to choose a path in your life or the next time you are about to encourage someone else to make a choice as well. Think about it, because that story can be impacted in huge ways by choices that seem small. And, as a creator of stories, it’s my responsibility to make the very best story I can.
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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.