Are You Living a Scripted Life? Is it in 2D or 3D?

“He’s just a suit,” I said, attempting to pigeonhole an acquaintance. It seemed original at the time. Of course, that was twenty years ago. IMG_1116

Now it’s a common expression, used so often there’s a TV series called “Suits” now successfully ending its second season.

At one time, being called a “suit” was not meant to be a compliment. Now it seems its pursuit has become an utmost goal for young and old alike.

But why?

For it’s that outer shell others see first for those who choose. It’s intentionally the only facet others realize, so why not make it fancy!

While I was teaching English, I would have described a “suit” as a flat character, someone whose personality is easily defined by one or two predictable traits. If fictional characters mirror real lives, then what does it say about those flat characters who never evolve or change throughout the plot line (and their lives)?

Why is that?

How is that?

… when we strive to live a life scripted by others,

usually by our parents, mentors or friends,

but also by our affiliations socially, culturally, religiously,

and even our rebellions,

we somehow lose our original selves?

Throughout those years we create an array of paper doll outfits to place on our paper doll bodies, the de rigueur attire obviously hoping to please.

Flat Shapes-2D

Flat Shapes-2D

Maybe it was during our growing years, in our striving to be the perfect person, one worthy of acceptance, our ever-pleasing facades were formed. Except that in truth, we’re not formed. For it was in my teaching art days, I explained that a form has three dimensions. A paper doll, a flat character, is 2D, and correctly termed as a shape with length and width.

What’s lacking in a flat shape? Depth.

Just as a rounded character in fictional terms must overcome conflict to evolve, so too a form, a truly three-dimensional object, is created by pressure.

A form of beauty

A form of beauty

Think about the pressure the potter or sculptor must apply to the material to mold it into a work of beauty, a work of original art. Consider the mass of marble Michelangelo broke through, chipped away and then sanded into smoothness. What if he had stopped short and settled for a series of friezes? I’m sure it would have been great but not as magnificent as The Pieta  or Moses when he went deep.

However, that third dimension of depth tends to scare-off most.

We humans don’t usually choose to have conflict, whether in sickness or poverty or death. We have to choose to add depth . . . in conflicting times under pressure . . . by building our character and, most especially, our faith.

And just as in art, an actual 3D form is the real thing.

Continuing with this artistic analogy, consider this:

Creating 3D on 2D surface

Creating 3D on 2D surface

Convincing artists can trick our eye into believing a flat surface actually has depth. Imagine a drawing or painting with a path winding into a forest–the farther the path goes away from us, the narrower it gets. The colors and detail blur into the distance. All are tricks of the trade.

Isn’t it the proper shading that gives a flat circle the appearance of a sphere?

2D looking 3D

2D looking 3D

Sadly, we all know those who first gave us the illusion they had depth. Yes, they can be quite the illusionist, can’t they! But what about me? What about you?

Surface living simply seems easier.

If we engage with others slightly and only love lightly, then won’t our pain and rejection weigh in slightly and lightly, too?

We have to work to not settle for a lightweight life, scripted by others, suited for pleasing others.

Quick disclaimer:

A life with conflict and pressure doesn’t guarantee we’ll form into a character of strength. Once more, we choose to develop those characteristics, like a tree growing higher towards the light and deeper with its roots stabilizing growth.

It’s that continual act of branching out and up, a life simply flourishing.

Life is about change

and

it’s never too late to change

Let’s continue with those lovely trees. . .

in the season when they’re most stressed.

Isn’t it in winter we realize trees in their truest forms? It’s with each bend of their limbs, we can understand life. I’m not talking about the sweet sway from breezes in the summer months but when we see through their leafy coverings–their suits–now fallen. Winter months expose how the trunk and its meandering branches grow towards the light.

Sometimes those limbs can be misdirected, like a wayward soul, and then redirected, creating extraordinary angles. Sometimes, the dramatic turns are not so obvious. Only when we have a new perspective can we see it, believe it.

A 90-Degree Life

A 90-Degree Life

Like the photo I took of this tree in our yard. The limb’s original direction was thwarted somehow sideways, but eventually it took a dramatic ninety-degree turn.

What determination it must have taken, its growth possibly unnoticed at the time.

Once I happened upon it, I stood in awe that its nature willed to no longer grow sideways but move upward towards the light and its living power. It dared to change while its buddy angled sideways.

Are you willing to find your direction–the one that’s true to who God created you to be?

Is it the one scripted just for you?

Or the one you’ve read of others, essentially plagiarizing your life.

Find Your Voice, 

Your Depth and Dimension,

and wear your suit if you like.

Just be sure it’s the one fitted just for you for your true form,

living your most honest life in Him,
It Takes All Kinds

Focus on your goal, flourishing all the way.

 

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