“Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet”

A line from a song confesses, “I’m no good at stories that haven’t ended yet.” I remember telling a friend I just wanted to know what was going to happen in my life. He said, “You know what’s going to happen–you’re going to die.”

This impatience with the time it takes life to unfold, intolerance for all the hours of not knowing, feels like a constant companion of the past forty-five years; even as a child I was in a rush to grow up, although I don’t know why. Like skimming a book for its plot, do we miss the full resonances of events, their meaning, in our hurry to resolve our suspense? Where we are now is a place too.

In these early days of a fresh year, I feel myself yearning to be further along on my projects and dreams…already! I keep reminding myself, “You’ve made a beginning; that’s enough for now.” When my students in Japan became frustrated with the pace of mastering English, I told them: “To learn anything, you only have to do two things. First, have the courage to start. You’ve done that already–congratulations! Next, don’t give up. That’s all.”

Or as Miguel de Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote: “Patience, and shuffle the cards.”

4 thoughts on ““Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet”

  1. Maybe that curiousity and desire to find out what’s going to happen is part of what keeps us going through the uncertainty and tough times. Helps us find a way, sort of like casting a line out far ahead (or far afield).

    • Yes, if we can keep it curious and open, rather than seeking the ever elusive sense of safety by trying to assert the ever delusive sense of control….sigh.

  2. Not just owned and allowed room, but maybe even cherished? This is the zen kind of perfection: that every moment is perfect because it includes all that came before and will come after: that because those tensions and flaws are the source of future resolutions and refinements, they’re beautiful too.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Tom. Gave me encouragement when I climbed back on the writing wagon tonight!

  3. I like this one Molly. Thanks for reminding us that indeed “now is a place, too.” Often in times of confusion I would have this inner dialogue of “I wish that I was…” (fill in the blank). The other day when that dialogue started I found it stopped in mid-sentence. At that moment I thought “how could I wish to be other than that which I am, right now?” This in the face of the many tensions and flaws in my life. They are a part of me, too, and I suppose they need to be owned and given a place.

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