Have you ever wondered what it is about a story that can grip our hearts so completely?
I mean, really... why do we get emotional while hearing about someone else's life? What pricks our hearts, makes us cry, makes us laugh, makes us mad, about things that never happened to us?
A thought hit me this morning, I think it's the answer to this quandary.
We humans are always seeking to connect. Our minds are ever searching for things we have in common with each other. That is why we have strings of conversation. Sally will say something, Jill will respond with what Sally's statement brought to her mind. They are seeking to connect with each other. They are longing to be understood. Have you ever told someone about a dream you had, and then, for the next thirty minutes, sat and listened to everyone-else-in-the-room's dreams?
Stories stir our minds the same way, just more subtly.
We may not have been through some of the fantastically unbelievable things that the characters in our favorite book or movie have. But somewhere, along the way, we have developed a connection with them. Some trait or triumph or trial they experience rings familiar with us. The same emotion they grapple with, we have, too. Even if only in the dark recesses of our heart...
Pain is especially that way.
I recently reviewed a book, Pain Redeemed, written by a blogger friend of mine, Natasha Metzler. The subject of the story was the soul pain of infertility, something I have never struggled with. However, several concepts the author tackled in the text really spoke to me, because I could identify with the core of them. She was speaking of the effect that pain has on her walk with God, it made me think of the effect that pain has had on my walk with God. We connected. My emotions were stirred with familiarity. That is one of the most beloved books in my e-library.
(By the way, when I started this post, I wasn't thinking of Natasha at all. She just came to mind as I was writing because this is a good example of the way strings of thought and familiar connections work)
Temptation works that way, too. And joy. We humans strive to find similarities between us and whatever we are absorbing in.
All this is just another reason to take a closer look at what we love. Why are these stories our favorites? Why are these people our best friends? Why do we feel connected with them? And how has God tried to connect with us?
Hint: For the answer to that last question, read Hebrews. Especially chapters 2 and 4.
We have a Master that came to "release those who, through fear, were subject to a lifetime of bondage." Not only that, but He did it by "suffering, being tempted, so that He would be able to aid those who are tempted." And even now He "sympathizes with our weakness. Because He was on all points tempted as we are."
But yet He did not sin. He truly is the "captain of our salvation, perfect through sufferings."