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  • Writer's pictureKathleen O'Brien

The Narratives that Shape Us

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up? Is it coming up with a story as to why you’re so tired this morning? I am so tired because I was on my phone too late…Or I am so tired because I had to finish homework or work and then you get mad at yourself for procrastinating. Or maybe you wake up on a happier note not stuck with the regrets of yesterday and thank God that your child slept through the whole night. After some hours pass by, let’s say you decide to go to the grocery store and the cashier was rude to you. What do you automatically ask yourself: Why was the cashier so rude to me? The cashier was rude to me because I wasn’t friendly enough…Or the cashier was rude to me because she/he is having problems in his/her personal life.

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, stories and narratives rule and direct our lives. The reasons that arise from the above scenarios are our brains attempting to mold a larger narrative. As humans, we are constantly grasping to make sense and meaning out of our daily experiences and fit it into a coherent framework. And these narratives, whether they reflect the reality of the situation or not, reflect what is going on deep down in each of us. The stories we tell ourselves reveal our desires, pains, longings, insecurities, values, how we view and treat people, etc.

In the liturgical year, we have stepped into a narrative that is only about to begin. It is a time to ask ourselves whether the Christian narrative, the birth and life of Jesus, has been the guiding narrative in our life. Do you want this Christian narrative to shape how you interpret your daily experiences? Do you want the story of the birth of Jesus Christ to give birth to your own identity and meaning in life? It’s never too late to change our narrative in order to commit or recommit to the narrative God has intended for us.

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