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A divine solution to your life's writer's block

Nov. 12, 1999

If the saying is true and people are able to read you like an open book, how is your story turning out?

What are you going to remember when you drive away from college and you're starting a new chapter? Will you remember all of the incomplete pages ripped out of your typewriter or will you want to say to yourself, 'Wow, what a great book this is turning out to be?' When you're on your deathbed, looking back and forming a summary of your life, will it still be a monumental tome worthy of the ages or will it be an incomplete, pointless story of anger, missed opportunities and sadness?

If your loved ones were to review your life's novel, what would they write? Would the critique read, 'A fruitless story that, despite good intentions, left the reader wondering, 'What was the point?,'' or would they write, 'This book is a real page-turning story. The main character is a modern-day hero who is a champion of love and unselfishness. This is an instant classic that will remain unparalleled by any other author?'

Stop and think. How is your life's main character faring? What choices has he or she made in this Choose Your Own Adventure Book of life that will either help or hinder in creating a favorable denouement?

Will your life be a living masterpiece or a collection of sad, disappointing short stories of which Cliff would never take notes?

Every day when you get up, you subconsciously put on your tweed writing jacket and sit down at your favorite typewriter and you start hammering out paragraph after paragraph of dialogue and rising or falling action of every kind.

What does your inner monologue consist of when that sorority girl in the big sports utility vehicle cuts you off? Would the limited omn

iscient observations of your peers concerning your behavior depict you as a Forrest Gump or a Captain Hook?

When your parents call and tell you that your grades stink and you need to come home and take classes at Houston Community College, what is your reaction to this impending, sudden plot twist?

Fortunately, the process of publishing is lengthy and time is allowed to make corrections. Mistakes can be 'whited out' through forgiveness given to others and yourself. Any good protagonist should know how to reconcile with his supporting cast when intrusions are made. This process of editing oneself can only be a painstaking procedure, for there is no automatic spellchecker and no peer evaluation can ever fully revise one's character.

However, there is one editor more effective than anyone else, and one template by which any human can successfully pattern his life and be happy with the finished work. One writer has been there and has had firsthand experience with everything you're grappling with and more. There is only one whose biography is the archetype for the ages: 'Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' Hebrews 12:2, KJV.

He knows exactly how you should react when you're cut off by that sorority girl or when you fail a class or when your significant other wants to be too physical and you're unsure of how far you want to go. If your story falls short -- resembling a cheap tabloid entry or a pulp fiction novel, He will catapult its status to the permanent all-time bestseller list.

Your book will not sit alone, for yours will become worthy to sit on the shelf with the true Book of Life--a shelf also holding the books of others who've followed the Perfector's advice. These perfect books remain unscorchable--far removed from Satan's fiery library in which the temperature is gauged well above 451.

But this transformation must happen before your final entry--when your last breath is expelled and your story is off to the presses in the sky. The timing of your request for this editor's help is crucial.

This climax can occur during chapter three, and unlike ordinary books, after this climax, action will continue to rise.

Or the transformation can happen in chapter 45 near the end of a long, yet previously unfulfilled life; where the protagonist forsakes his or her falling, failing actions and writing in an entirely new style.

Which story will endure for all time? Which tale will inspire, and which tale will evoke a reaction from readers of, 'What an idiot! Why didn't he just listen in the first place and let Jesus make his story better in chapter three? What a waste these first 45 chapters were!'

Jesus is always there in the editor's chair, waiting for you to say, 'Wow, this book I'm writing really stinks. I need some help.' And when you turn it over and let Him proofread it, the red will most definitely flow, but it will not be ink.

Jeff Scheldt is a junior journalism major from Houston.