Thursday, April 21, 2022

Everybody Stars in Their Own Story


The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, by John Koenig, is a "dictionary of made-up words for emotions that we all feel but don't have the words to express." I'm currently borrowing it from my youngest daughter, but I may need to buy a copy for myself.

It's the kind of book that you can't just sit down and read through. Each page...or even just a part of a page...needs to be sat with for a bit and allowed to simmer.

My interest in this book was solidified because of one word that appears in the introductory section.

sonder: the realization that each random passerby is the main character of their own story, in which you are just an extra in the background.

When I read that, my jaw dropped and my eyes grew wide.

It really shouldn't have been such a revelatory moment. I mean, for a long time I have certainly felt like I was starring in a movie about me. Why shouldn't everyone else feel the same way about themselves?

Then my daughter directed me to the following video created by Koenig, and I knew I needed to read this book.

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Even though the word didn't exist at the time, I first experienced sonder during my first mission trip to Panama.

Our small group had parked our van on one end of a slab of asphalt that served as the neighborhood basketball court. We hung a sheet on the broad side of the van to use as a movie screen to show The Jesus Film. In preparation for the movie, and to help gather a crowd, our Panamanian hosts led a time of worship.

Then it hit me. Even though I had grown up in a church that emphasized mission work and I knew in my head that God's love applied to every people and every language group, I still had a feeling that God was paying particular attention to wherever I was and whatever I was doing. But standing there listening to worship songs that I couldn't understand a single word of, I realized that Yahweh was right there, enjoying every note.

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Truth is...He's got the whole world in his hands.

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