On November 1st, I released the third and final installment of the Roman Soul series. I had been looking forward to this release even more than the first two for several reasons. One was that this book is twice as long as the others. Another is that I am now able to share it with several readers who have also been looking forward to this release.
But the greatest reason is that this book in particular has more action, more suspense, and a deeper plot than I've ever written before. Because this is the climax of Marcus' life.
And, I later realized, because this was when I would say goodbye.
When I first began to write The Hidden Soul, I envisioned nothing more than a short story. A small account of the crucifixion from the eyes of a Roman soldier, something I might put on the blog or share with a magazine. Nothing more than that. But when I ended up with an 18k word story, I realized I had a book.
A book that I had finished, completed, and could share with the world.
When I put it up on Amazon, I thought it was over. But the inspiration for book 2 came only two weeks later, and I finished that one – which ended up being longer than the first – in June.
After that, I knew I would write a third book. I didn't know what would happen, or how it would play out, but I knew Marcus' story was not over. For the past seven months, I have been Marcus, knowing I still had story to tell, knowing that his journey was not over yet.
Which is why, when I wrote the final words of this third book, it was surreal to realize that it finally was, in fact, finished. There are some things that can't be explained, but I knew when I read back through this novel-length book that it was done. I had told his story, and I would no longer be Marcus.
It was surreal to realize that. You can't be someone for so long and then suddenly not be him without feeling strange, even a little melancholy. Only a writer (or extremely avid reader) knows how it feels to read or write “The End” and realize the story is over. That's what I felt when I published it.
But then I started thinking: Is it really over?
I mean, the story does continue. The beginnings of the church, the lives of the Disciples, the history of Christianity, they all continue for thousands of years, right up until today. And that story continues to be written as we speak. So the “story” is far from being over.
And what about Marcus? Is his story over? Without giving away the ending, I don't think it is. Because, as so many of my awesome readers have pointed out, we are all Marcus. I am, you are. Each of us drove the nails through Christ's hands. Each of us have strayed, have fallen away, have been where we think is “too far” for Jesus to love us. We are all Marcus.
So no, his story isn't over either, because it is continued in every single one of us. We each have a story, the same story as the one I've spent most of the past year writing.
Because in some way, I wasn't writing Marcus' story. I was writing my own, and I was writing yours.
And the whole time, God knew exactly what He was doing.
The Roman Soul Series has changed my life. Writing it, experiencing it, and having my eyes opened to who I am, and who we really are in Christ's eyes. Because when I wrote it, I stepped into Marcus' shoes and became him. So I “was” him as he crucified Christ.
And in a sense, I did it with him.
So even though I might feel a bit melancholy over the fact that I am no longer Marcus, I know that I am. Because we are each carrying out the story that God Himself has written. The story of a grace and forgiveness that is so great, it can cover every single one of us. And the story of a love that is bigger than any of us could ever write in one book.