As my kids and I were debating this afternoon about whether a certain character in a book we are reading is about to die in order to save a loved one, my son asked me "Why do characters have to die? Why can't they all just live and be happy?"
It was a simple enough question to answer, and it didn't take much explanation to convince my son that conflict, adversity and challenges make stories interesting and compelling. But reflecting on the question afterward, there seems to be an important life lesson here.
Most of us would like to think of ourselves as the hero or heroine in the story of our life. Perhaps a few might like to be considered as the villain. But none of us wants to be thought of as a boring side character with little importance to the story. Yet in the course of our life we are often prone to ask ourselves, why me? Why do I have to face this challenge? Why did God have to give me this adversity? We may even pray to God and ask, for the challenge to be taken away or easily solved for us. We just want everything to go the way it is supposed to and everyone to just live and be happy. Wow, doesn't that reek of boring secondary character, or what?
So here's where we look to literature for another important life lesson. Stop asking why me, why God please just take this away. Start praying for knowledge, blessings or opportunities to learn that amazing something special about you that will help you overcome your adversity.
I'm not saying we should go chasing down trouble. But at the same time, let's not cower to the margins of our book of life hoping to avoid it. This is your opportunity to grow and demonstrate just how awesome you can be. Challenges and adversity aren't just what make a great story, they're what make us great. Be the heroine, not the boring secondary character.