Reading a storyline, both stories that actually happened and those that have been imagined, we track with the narrative of the main character or characters. Readers of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are enchanted with the magical world that intersects with the seemingly mundane world of the non-magical. They are caught up in the plight of Harry and his group of loyal friends as they fight the often overwhelming forces of evil. With the popularity of the franchise one can now travel to the theme park, buy all manner of merchandise, and go on your own adventure through the medium of a video game. The secret wish of most Harry Potter fans, or fans of any series is that this fiction were a reality and they were able to play the main character, the hero. Looking only at the numbers, it is much more likely that one would be one of the bystanders, possibly even collateral damage in the narrative of Harry Potter. This is all well and good, but that is fiction, surely storylines in real life are different.
The key to keeping a captive reading audience is a storyline which must be maintained. Even in actual events, such a battles during the Civil War, genocides in unstable countries, and even stories in the Bible, a limited narrative focusing on very few characters is required. We are drawn to the story of one person, identifying with their struggles and rising with elation at their successes. However we cannot track or identify with the multitudes. As Joseph Stalin supposedly said, “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”. A book listing all the dead from a world war would be incomprehensible and boring, not because we are heartless and unfeeling but because it is a recitation not a story. In the Bible we read stories of old battles and feuds, kingdoms that rise and fall, people being taken into captivity and walking through prison doors. Mixed in with the story of the main character often it is mentioned that thousands of people perished or a whole nation fell. These offhand mentions make us wonder “what about everyone else?”. Does the world not care about the masses? Does God not care about the masses?
The answer is, of course, no. Of course we care. Of course God cares. A series with many volumes could be written about the storyline of each person’s life, detailing the battles they won, the people they affected, and how their decisions changed the course of history. The main character in one storyline is just a member of the mass in another storyline; likewise a member of the mass in one narrative is the hero in the next narrative. Each of us is writing our own story. Perhaps our stories will never be put down in writing or made into a full-length feature film, but rest assured, each story, each life has enough drama, action, suspense, and redemption to make many movies. You are the hero of your own story and in a critical supporting role in a multitude of other stories.
Therefore live, act, and dream accordingly.