Yesterday I was going on a bike ride around my beautiful city, seeking out photo opportunities for a secret project I’m working on for the blog. I was pedaling my way toward the main streets of town when this caught my eye:
It doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but there’s a story here.
The iron fence actually borders the lot of what was once a grand historic house. I say once because, just a month or so ago, it burned down. Nothing is left but the stone steps, which lead up to a pile of charred wood and ash.
The fire which ravaged this house was not a mistake or an accident. Authorities told us that it was the work of a serial arsonist, one who has been lighting fires on our peninsula the past several years. Fortunately no one was killed in this fire (six people lived in the house that was torched), but the surrounding community is still instilled with fear.
As I biked past the blackened hovel of this house, I saw the first signs of life since it was ravaged. A vine, bright and green, had crept its way up the iron fence. Every other plant in the area is still stubbled and black. Not this vine. It’s already taken over the entire front part of the lot.
The sight struck me in one of those deep metaphorical ways. The vine was life—life springing up after so much evil and destruction. No matter what terrible things befall us there is hope. Hope after the storm. Hope after death.
And this turns my post back to writing. One of the reasons I write isn’t just to tell a good story, but to thread principles and beliefs like the one above into tales that have deeper meaning. Life is full of terrible things. But these terrible things don’t have to define us, not if we have hope in something greater.
For me, personally, that greater thing is Christ. I don’t mean to get preachy on the blog, but my faith is something that is a big part of my life and therefore shouldn’t be hidden or ignored.
And this isn’t to say that novels should have a didactic message or be allegorical. I love many novels just for the story. But the stories that hold meaning are the ones that stick with me. They’re the ones I carry in my heart, the ones I can’t shake.
Hope. It's why I write. What about you?