Madeleine Kleppinger challenges readers to experience life through stories that inspire more adventurous living, personal growth and meaningful service of others.

Your Missing Piece

Your Missing Piece

Recognizing who people are to you will help you dig into your story. Genuine, whimsical, and adventurous people are who you should yearn to spend time with. Today, is the perfect time to find a great friend, who will shape your story. Living life with a few select people will launch your story to the next level. People, who we invite into our story, help us live well. They sharpen the contrasts and soften the heartaches.

Personalities that contrast ours, carve out who we will be. In The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, twelve dwarves conglomerate onto a messy heap in a hobbit’s foyer. Bilbo, the protagonist and only non-dwarf, acts unimportant and unpleasant. We do not root for this character because we have not reason to. The plot sends all thirteen on a journey together. Over time each dwarf and Bilbo experience conflict with another. By the end, the characters sculpt each other into distinguished, honorable, robust heroes that we love.

Differences and distinctions are good and worth celebrating in a wonderful story. In your own life, you also must see the uniqueness of people. The contrasts of others will whittle away who you are not, carving your well-defined identity. As you value each person for the differences they have, you will also value and love the traits that are yours.

Not only do people shape us but they help us to be better. There is a story about a hermit who broke his solitude and vow of silence to help two children. The young boy and girl, from The Horse and His Boy by C.S.  Lewis, were on a journey to save a kingdom. They could not succeed on their own because they did not have the wisdom to create a plan. The hermit had wisdom but not any purpose to be valiant. Saving the kingdom required each character. From this story, be encouraged to break out of your patterns of individualism. Get involved with people to better develop your own character.

Strife between heroes and villains is in every adventure tale. In real life, we do not often go to battle with an arch nemesis. Rather we meet people who shape our behaviors, challenge our morals, and test our emotion triggers. The people grinding against our nerves, sharpen us. The Disney villain turned hero, Elsa, from Frozen was pestered and bothered and pursued by her counter character and sister, Anna. After many of her sister’s attempts at relationship, Elsa finally returned from her lonely ice castle and reconnected with the people of Arendelle and her family. Anna refused to let Elsa become a recluse. She had to be vulnerable to prove why Elsa should not live alone. True success stories show us what we can gain from the hardships. Find those people in your life that have failed or struggled, and get close to them. Spend some time asking them what they learned so you might grow too.

When we let great friends in, they shape our stories and help us live better. As you work out the story of your own life, think about who you can adventure with that will contrast your personality, help you discover your path, and sharpen your understanding of the world around you.

These are three of the wily characters of my own life who help me to tell my story. My sister Emily, brother Luke, and husband Johnathon. With them beside (or squishing me) I know I can face any adventure before me. Share a picture or story of your fantastic friend below in the comments with us.

A Valiant Attempt for History:  A Book Review of The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Valiant Attempt for History: A Book Review of The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien

Find Yourself in a World Away - An Interview with Urban Fantasy Author Erin Casey

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