By Esih Efuru
When I first entered my Creative Writing Master’s program, I wanted to tell the story of how power is used to take advantage of the weak. I was determined to expose social and cultural ills; I was ready to show no mercy. At the heart of my thesis project was my own desire to be free of the pain that tortured me, and to help free someone else. I wanted to tell a tragic story.
As I began to learn more about my protagonist, I noticed that I was focusing so much attention on her doom, and I was losing the essence of who she was trying to become. My professors encouraged me to focus on her, and then decide if the rest of the story was worth telling.
There are moments where our human condition colors our perspective of God and the world around us. We want desperately to show the world where it hurts and who should pay for it. In that process, we lose valuable time and energy, and possibly lose the opportunity to really become free. I told myself that I was healed, but the words on the page said something different. How many of our thoughts, words and actions reveal the truth about how we really feel about the world and the God that placed us in it?
I realized that the story that God needed me to tell was strikingly different from the one I wanted to share. If I’d kept the tragic story, all who encountered it would be left with anger and resentment. Where is the growth and healing in that?
When considering your life’s journey, can you see how you have grown from tragedy to triumph? How are you telling your story? No matter what grade I receive on my final thesis, I can be sure that the story I ended up with is the one to share, and that others’ lives will be as enriched as mine was through the process of reviving it.