I once wrote a story that was meant to be an allegory. In this story there was a character who represented God. At one point in the story this character was going to leave for a time. I needed him to say something deep and profound, so I wrote, “I must go, in order to return.” It didn’t hit me just how this sounded until I was reading the story aloud to my parents. I got to the portion, the build up, just before the deep sentence and started laughing so hard I could barely finish. It was that moment that I heard that sentence for all its shallow lame corniness that it was. From that point on my family and I would quote this saying quite often.
It was crazy how it fit into so many situations, when something was obvious, or when we had to go, before we could return, or when something was extraordinarily lame, we would, in a dramatic voice, say, “I must go” then we would pause for the right amount of effect, “in order to return.”
This wonderful little quote has began to take a life of its own. Others have learned what it means, where it comes from, and have begun to use it as well. It is being used so many times in a context where it is almost becoming the deep and profound meaning that was originally intended. The meaning itself has changed, however, now it represents tried but failed attempts at profundity. Sometimes, being humorous, sometimes ironic, and sometimes serious.
For a time I was discouraged after discovering my lack of seriousness in my character representing God. I realized that I was not quite the writer that I thought I was. I couldn’t write anything deep or come up with a good story line where my characters sounded normal. But, many years later, I look back and realize that I had to leave off writing for a time, I had to leave and learn some lessons. I had to leave in order to return a better writer.
Don’t roll your eyes, how else would you have me close a post such as this?
When the post was first published on my original blog I had a comment that the phrase did not sound comical to this person. That blessed me. It also made me realize how something can take a life of its own simply in how it is read.