The screen fades to the bold letters THE END. Still caught in the emotional grasp of the movie I slowly start to stir and recognize that my reality is NOT up on the screen. It always takes me awhile to shake the mood of a movie off.
My husband worked in film and theater for years. Early in our marriage he explained to me that it was disrespectful to walk out of a newly lit theater without staying to watch the credits. He said, "Even if you don't read the names, you honor their work by simply being there." (Maybe he didn't say the words exactly as I did, but the idea is the same).
Of course, I don't think that it showed further respect when the theater was empty and we went up to the section in front of the screen and danced, then he said loudly, "We own this theater!" (It was even more fun as we added first one daughter, then another, and then our neighborhood daughter joined in the fun). I loved Nyle's theater dancing tradition. It seemed as though our
silliness bridged that sometimes painful gap between fantasy and
reality. Armed with our own shenanigans we were better able to move
back into life that sometimes contained very negative, harsh elements.
Now I come to you, those that read my blog. The movie has printed those words up on the screen, the theater lights come up, and what do you do? Do you feel blasted by the realities of your life? Do you feel like the end of a movie, or book, or any other page or act of your life, brings with it the ultimate realization, "Oh CRAP, THIS IS my reality?"
When we lived in Portland, I missed my family that lived two states away. Now that I live closer to my family I miss the beloved friends who became family in Portland. We ALL face THE END, over and over, and over in our lives. Think of the transitions in life, school, summer, grade school, middle school, high school, college, marriage, children, illness, financial ruin (I hope NONE of those reading this have faced the last two transitions that I have mentioned). Transitions in life are definitely similar to those last two words in the movie or book.
The next time that life hands you a transition. As an all too personal example, I did NOT expect my beloved husband of 27 years to pass away at 54. THE END was simply not a reality that I could imagine. I had longed all of my life for one man, and one love to last a lifetime. He WAS my one man, and my one love.
I have come to realize that whether I believe in eternal life, or the gift of memory this man that I loved more than my own life will live on. He lives on in the faces of our daughters. He lives on in the joy in my heart in remembering him. There will be no THE END in our love.
Whatever THE END that you are facing PLEASE take hope from my words that there IS hope, life, joy, friendship, love beyond what may seem like THE END. Especially if you are facing mental health challenges, please understand YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There is NO problem facing you that is worthy of ending your life. That is one THE END, that is NEVER a solution. Even if life does end beyond the grave, (and I know that it doesn't), can you imagine never kissing your spouse again, never hearing your children's laughter? Never hearing the rain tapping on your roof as you snuggle closer to your sweetheart cozy and safe?
I will end with one of my favorite quotes of all times from the play "Spoonriver Anthology." In it the people in a tiny cemetery come to life. They share their stories, and some share the lessons they learned. One woman speaks of having a heart condition all of her life. She marries her childhood sweetheart and the two struggle with a harsh environment on a tiny farm to keep body and soul together. They have 8 children and she tells that when things get too much for her weak heart she lies on the earth to feel the strength of it's rhythm below her until she feels strong enough to keep living. Her words seared my adolescent brain and still are just as powerful today, "Degenerate sons and daughters, life is too strong for you..." Life is strong...it can help us to become strong.
One thing I know with no doubt is that all of us, each and every human being on the planet is stronger TOGETHER. We can work together to make our homes better, our communities, better, and by doing this, make our WORLD better! There never needs to be an THE END for compassion, for empathy, or for simple caring.