Ann was a friend of mine who liked to read the last chapter of nearly every book she ever read first. The exception was the occasional biography or non-fiction book of pre-twentieth century British Monarchy. She already knew how their lives ended, but she enjoyed the details and history of their lives. Other than wanting to know how the story ended, I never really understood why Ann did this. She would only say that she wanted to see how the story ended first. Now, I wonder if she was looking for a happy ending in her own life’s story.
Maybe I reading too much into it. For me, jumping ahead to the end first would ruin the (hopefully) happy conclusion. I like the drama of the heroine or hero who are victorious over the antagonist. The wonder and romance of boy-gets-girl or girl-gets-girl or boy-gets-boy. And, if while I’m reading a book with drama, adventure, romance or magic, I’ll ponder if it is leading up to a sequel. Oh, the anticipation.
There is one story’s ending I would like to know the outcome of. The Pandemic. Now here I would agree with Ann. When will it end? What will the new normal look like and when will it happen? And, what will my life look like post-pandemic?
The ennui of quarantine, the nail-biting moments, the sad stories, the violence and other drama of this past year, feels like a story without an end now. However, there are other moments we can enjoy like how the glass of wine tastes, the colors in nature, things my children said, shows we binge watched, and all those other nuances that fill out a story. I am doing my best to stay in the moment – it hasn’t always been easy these last twelve months. I’m trying to stay present so that I’ll have a fuller, richer story to tell one day.
It ‘s been said that the end goal – the dream job, dream partner, dream house or whatever the dream is – is not the destination. It’s all part of the journey.
I’m a book addict. I love books. I collect books. I own a library card. I carry a membership card to a well known book store and I use it often. Thomas Jefferson once said “I cannot live without books.” I concur.
In fact, I generally have four or five books going at any time. That is I’ll read a book for a bit, put it down and then repeat the process with about 3 or 4 other books. They’re not all just random books or the newest books that I cannot keep up with. There really is a method to my madness. But, a couple of months ago I realized that the madness had taken over and it needed to have an ending.
And so, I made a goal this year to finish any books I had previously started. Two of the books for research purposes have post it notes riddled with arrows, notes and punctuation so that I can go back to them as needed. Two of the books were inspirational memoirs sprinkled with humor. And still another was a tome by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
About five years ago I saw an exhibit on Thomas Jefferson’s book collection at the mother of all libraries – the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This exhibit consisted of Jefferson’s bookshelves with his 10,000 book collection! The founding father had a variety of books on all topics. There were the books you would expect to see on the shelf of a farmer, lawyer, politician, and Declaration of Independence author. Surprisingly or not, there were books by Voltaire and Moliere; Homer and Shakespeare; as well as books on Plato, languages, astronomy, philosophy and religion. I wonder if he read his books sporadically.
But, it was still time to finish my current collection of unfinished books. Cold, winter nights and snowy weekends are great for curling up with a good book and I took advantage of the cold nights next to a warm fire. At around the moment I committed to this, I realized that I may not have been alone in my decision. I felt a nudge from the universe, a reminder, that it was time to get ready to move forward. Was finishing the books a metaphor for finishing goals? Books equal knowledge. Lessons have been learned. It’s time for me to let go of the past and move forward to the next level in my spiritual awakening.