Sunday, December 21, 2008

Neverending Story

Trailing ends leave me nervous. Maybe they bother you, too. Do you tuck in the tag sticking out from your friend's shirt collar? Will you wind up the trailing strand on a ball of wool? Must you watch the movie to the bitter end? Then maybe you are like me, too.

I'm a lifelong Trekkie. I partly blame my mom. She would not tolerate rivals, and Star Trek rivalled her for my attentions. So she planned dinner to start ten minutes before the finale. Ten minutes to six. She would trot up to the television and turn it off, "Dinner's ready." I'd thought for many years that it was terribly inconvenient that television programming did not accommodate people's dinner schedules. It only dawned on me many years later that mom planned dinner hour on purpose to mess with my schedule. All those missing finales, they left their mark. I'm never sure when I watch a re-run if I've seen the whole thing through. So I set myself down, even today, to revel in the pleasure of a finished story.

The paper-back sections of the public library similarly leave me with trailing ends. I admit, I'm trolling the science fiction section. Especially in SF, it seems, authors get themselves a series going. It must be a great deal of work manufacturing entire worlds and civilizations. It is a terrible waste to use it all up on one book. So we have ourselves our trilogies and our tetralogies and our heptalogies. Anyways, back to our problem in the paper-back section of our public libraries. Typically they contain fairly current novels. Which means they have perhaps the third volume but not the first or the second. I am thrust in to the middle of the story without context. Or worse, I am fully involved in my hero's tale with no way of knowing how it ends. To this day I'll pick up any Asimov novel I come across, just in case it might be one I've missed. I'm sure I've read Foundation dozens of times, fearing it's one of my missed books.

How does all this talk of trailing ends have to do with life and blogs? Now that I'm halfway through my earthly toil, it seems to me that life itself is a story with trailing ends. Often I've thought of writing of what I've learned about parenting, courage, success...but the lack of a satisfactory conclusion has held me back. My children are a work in progress. I'm a work in progress. I cannot say that one way or another guarantees satisfaction or an end to problems. Problems are interwoven in to the fabric of our life. They mess up the edges of our lives, leaving trailing bits of undone business around. Perhaps that tension of an unsatisfactory conclusion drives us forward to do better, to give another try. Let us hope that is the way to respond to life's trickeries.

It does no good to throw the book to the ground (or toss our relationships to the side) because they do not satisfy.

Thanks to sammystuff for her lovely wool picture.