The Last Page Doesn’t End the Story

Some of my favorite books are the ones with the infuriating endings. They are the stories without closure; unresolved and lacking a succinct conclusion.

But here’s the most interesting part: For as frustrating as these endings are, they often end up being the most satisfying. In my opinion, there is nothing more intriguing than the idea of a story that never really ends.

People commonly talk about the challenges of readjusting to life in a new place; even readjusting to life in the same place after being gone for a while. But no one really says how long this takes, or how fully it’s completed. Have I transitioned well to being a college student? I would say so. But there are days when I feel as if I am looking through the window of my memories instead of the window of my vision. Sometimes I’ll be walking to class, or studying in my room and my mind’s eye will switch to the year I spent living in Los Angeles. I’ll see myself walking up Gower to Santa Monica, or in the courtyard while a few of the neighborhood kids play basketball. Sometimes I am so far removed in my classes as my brain flickers rapidly through stories that the course content brings to the forefront of my thoughts.

And I ask myself what this means.

I’ve felt the slight pressure of my surroundings and from myself to close up the box of those LA memories and revisit them later when I have the time and the space to do so. It would be so much easier if I could be fully present in one place at one time. But I’ve never been been very good at doing that.

Should I be good at doing that?

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with balancing where I’ve been and where I am now, but there’s some guilt within that struggle: wondering why I can’t just be content and comfortable in one place, why I’m always thinking ahead to the next adventure, or remembering the ones I’ve been a part of.

And is that ok?

Historically, the first societies of people were nomadic. They moved as the land changed, following the lazy flow of relative time. They didn’t have to claim one place as their own, because the entire world was home. And even though this isn’t an entirely realistic lifestyle in today’s modernized world, it’s still comforting to think of the human spirit as something that was never meant to stay in only one place. We spent so much time frantically grasping for the things that give us stability and control and forget that when we tie ourselves to one place, we only experience life through what happens to drift into that space. I would so much learn about the ocean by wading into the waves than by sitting on the beach collecting shells.

Not that I have this figured out for myself. I am still learning what it means to balance a restless spirit and a regulated mind; how I appease the part of my brain that craves routine and security even while the other half craves to hop on a plane to anywhere.

But I find that I am becoming more and more comfortable resting in that middle space, choosing to be ok with not having answers, and giving myself the time to ponder where I’ve been and where I’m going. Even as I struggle to be present where I am, I also know that I have no last pages. I’m living in a multi-dimensional story that is being written for me even as I try to write it for myself. And that’s why I love the books without clear endings, because I like to feel as if I am in the middle of a story that is still unfolding and forming, even when I feel like the story-line is lost in the confusion. It’s still moving forward. I’m still moving forward, whether I am in Ohio, Los Angeles, or anywhere else in the world.

It’s ok to not know. And it’s ok to feel ok with not knowing. As cliché as it sounds, this is life. And every morning we wake up we have, at the very least, that.

Much love and peace,

Rowena

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2 thoughts on “The Last Page Doesn’t End the Story

  1. Rowena,

    What you wrote here resonates so much with my own life journey. I have moved around in my adult life, living in seven different states and three different countries. I feel like a part of me has been left in all of those places, and my mind wanders back at random times to memories of each of those places and the people who touched my life and my family’s life. Sometimes I long to go back to (and some times I actually get to!) those places. At the same time, I dream of places that I’d like to travel to, in order to experience new cultures, meet new people, and see more of the beauty of God’s creation.

    All the while, I believe in “blooming where I am planted”, and want to immerse myself in each present moment in this place called Bluffton. I want to get the most out of this experience, right here, right now.

    Thank you for the beautiful metaphor of your life being like a book that doesn’t reach closure. Because your story is still being written. Mine is too. Everyone’s is. And it is OK to live with this tension of living in the moment and longing to be other places. I believe that we can be true to ourselves and to those around us while being in the midst of that tension.

    Blessings,

    Tig

    Liked by 1 person

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