Posted by guest blogger, BroKen
In the movie, Stranger Than Fiction, Will Ferrell plays man who begins hearing a voice narrating his life; describing his actions as he performs them. Convinced that he is a character in a book, he seeks a professor of literature (Dustin Hoffman) to help him understand what is happening to him. The professor suggests he try to discover whether he is in a tragedy or a comedy. We in the audience know that the author is trying to figure out how her character will die at the end of the story. That sounds like a tragedy, right? Well, I won’t spoil the story for you. I only bring it up because I think the professor’s suggestion is a great one. Do you live in a tragedy or a comedy?
Some say the most important question we humans face is, “What is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” Fact is, that question is too big for us. The only question we can answer ourselves is the meaning of our own life and the lives of those around us. The universe and everything is beyond our “pay grade.”
Another fact is, we are all gonna die. No one gets out of here alive. That would certainly indicate a tragedy, wouldn’t it? But the skillful comedian can set a stage which looks really bad, only to reveal (at the punch line) that everything is not as it appears. That realization is what makes a joke, a joke. Tragedy turning out alright in the end is comedy. The great shift between tragedy and comedy, and how quickly it happens, demonstrates the skill of the author.
An amazing characteristic of our lives, which truly are stranger than fiction, is that we, each one of us, gets to choose whether we live in a comedy or a tragedy. Our Author has given us that ability. If we believe our lives are tragic, that is exactly what they are. But if we can hold on to hope in spite of some pretty dire conditions, then we get to laugh last and best. So, not only can we find the answer to meaning in our own life, we get to determine that meaning mostly for ourselves.
And it all seems to hinge on one solitary life from about two thousand years ago. It was arranged as a classic tragedy. Given the situation, it had to turn out badly. A radical preacher of Truth who could not be silenced, faced down the jealous powers of this world. All who put their hopes in that preacher should have known that those hopes would be crushed. That is what this world does. Hope, as everything else, dies!
Or does it? Like those stories that end with a question mark, your life’s ending is also up to you. If you believe in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, then there is hope of laughter. Otherwise, well, you’re on your own. And that is very sad.