One of my favorite authors wrote the following quote in a recent book of his:
“The thing about death is that it reminds us that the story we’re telling has finality.”
As simple as the wording is in this sentence, the meaning behind it rings deeply within my heart. At the age of twenty-six, I realize that I have seen lots of death in my life. Not necessarily within the family, but also friends and associates. Death to me is an extraordinarily saddening occurrence. Anytime I hear about someone losing a loved one or a friend, I am genuinely empathetic. The feeling of having something removed from your life, creating a void so large that it seems impossible to fill in, is something that I wish people would never feel.
The above quote is taken from a point in the book where the author is talking about a death of an uncle. He was close to the uncle and goes on the explain the history of their relationship up to the point when the inevitable phone call took place. Everyone in the family is feeling sad of course, but the author raises some really interesting points. While the physical removal of a loved one is frightening and depressing, it brings a note of finality. And while there is a conclusion, the untimeliness of this final note is where the truly deep despair comes from. This is why most times the death of a child or young adult brings about more shock then that of an elderly person. The latter has been given the chance to live out their life, tell their story, and teach others what it means to be alive. Children and young adults, whose lives are just beginning, haven’t had a chance to tell their story. So there is no natural sense of finality.
I am reminded of great story, the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. For those of you familiar with the story, you know that it’s a massive adventure that spans not only within the three books, but also throughout supplementary books that were published after the original three has been released. At the end of the trilogy, the band of companions who had been traveling together pretty much the whole time are now faced with different paths that will split them apart. While at face value the sadness of not seeing each other is very real and present, there is an even stronger underlying satisfaction that the story has been completed.
While none of us are hobbits, elves, or dwarfs, we can still relate to that feeling somewhat. When my grandfather died some time ago, I was terribly upset, but I could not deny that he lived a great life and told an even greater story.
Every good story, while we don’t really want it to, has to end. If there is no end, then there is no satisfaction that allows us to appreciate the contents of the adventure.
Just as death is a natural part of life, a conclusion is a logical part of a story.
I say all of this to point out that we owe to ourselves, to each other, to our loved ones (both current and forthcoming) a good story. Let’s live each day as if we are the Riders of Gondor, blazing across fields with massive banners displaying our colors. Let’s perform our daily duties, whether it be school, work, or whatever our lives call for us to do, with a sense of adventure. Let’s get ourselves on the path for a phenomenal conclusion. We all can do it and we can support each other as well.
Happy adventuring, everyone, and I look forward to reading each and every one of your stories!