Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

 That struts and frets his hour upon a stage

And then is heard no more.  It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

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Well now, are these lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act 5, Scene, 5, Lines 24-28) accurate?  Does life signify nothing?

In today’s world this is, for many, how life appears.  Enter suicide, drug addiction, loneliness, estrangement, depression, despair, futility.

But is it so that life signifies nothing and is as a bell clanging in the wind but calling us to nothing in particular?

The answer: it can be when there is no grand narrative – no story into which one fits by dint of birth.

In secularism, and its exclusion of faith, there is no coherent narrative into which each person might fit.  This is, to be sure, a far cry from the centuries of Western history when Jews and Christians had a grand story that kept them upright and gave them purpose and hope – an organizing theme.  Ah, but our elites see such a grand narrative as naive, foolish, useless, antiquated, passe.

Yet how to people understand their life without an inclusive narrative?  Not well.

There are few playwrights, few novelists, few poets, few screen writers, few master story-tellers.  And it is all the more the case that few people possess the drive for introspection, self-examination and critical thinking that is needed to create a narrative, a guiding story that encompasses the human event in its scope and depth.

Without a story people are lost.  Without a story there is no leadership.

When story disappears so too does depth of vision, ever-present humor, hope and wisdom.

Without story imagination atrophies and we do not hear what others say in words and that which is unspoken. Without story communication fades and sound and fury emerge.

Without a story the self stands alone, trying to comprehend meaning in each step, each small incident, each twitch, each tittle, a glance from another, their silence or inflection.

Think about it, how do you live without a faith narrative?

Shalom.

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