How A Story Ends

My favorite stories are the ones that end openly, the ones that let me wonder. I think those stories feel true. Because life usually doesn’t wrap up stories with definite endings. Most of the time our stories end with questions, with unknown. One ending marks the beginning of a new story, a beginning that’s sometimes scary. Our lives become a beautiful collection of stories, bound with tears and laughter. I like to think that each soul holds a library of sacred stories. Our shelves are decorated with what-could-have-beens and remember-whens. We all have memories flowing through our veins, making us.

This gift of living stories has been painting its beauty on my heart. I quietly finished writing the ending to my high school story a couple of weeks ago. I finished my classes and closed my computer on a rainy May Monday. Then I celebrated with my friends and family, a night of bittersweet fun and love that I will never forget. Then it was just over. High school is behind me now.

I feel caught in the in-between of it all. If high school is the end of one story and August awaits a new beginning, then where am I now? I think this is just a season to be still. I’m soaking it in, these stories being written and preciously being placed in a soul-deep library. I’m seeking answers that last pages left and leaving space to wonder.

This year has taught me to embrace, to fully live, these stories we’re walking. A beginning becomes an ending faster than we expect. We aren’t even promised another page. I want my stories to be full, raw, tragic, and beautiful. I want to take each moment God gives me and truly live each word while it is being written.  I want to cry broken tears and laugh so deeply it hurts my abs, to be genuine. And when God surrounds me with other walking stories, I want to love them fiercely.

These years have been used to free me, to uncover all the puzzle pieces of who God has made me to be. I looked for God and I  found Him. I doubted and I praised. I made mistakes and learned from them. I learned what it looks like to live with love. I drank coffee with friends. I studied a lot. I embraced joy. And in these, I wrote a story of Becoming Emma. And it’s beautiful that this is just one story, one cover on the shelf of Becoming Emma.  

We gather around the campfire and share little pieces of ourselves, asking “do you remember when?” or pondering “one time…” But what do these tales look like while we are living them? How does it feel to close the cover? When a story ends we move from present to past. What is becomes what was.

When I finish a good book, it takes me a few minutes for me to enter back into reality. For a moment, I’m lost in the midst of my surroundings and the Neverland I just left. I wonder about what will happen to the characters beyond the pages or relive my favorite chapter in my memory.  I’m happy for the joy the words brought but sad that the story is over. Yet I know there are a sea of books waiting to be picked up, new stories to be read.  I read intently, letting myself escape into a fictional world. At the end, I just float in between until I can bridge the gap between the real and the written.

I think that’s what these weeks feel like for me, how high school  moves from present to past. I’m just resting in the in-between. I’m building the bridge between what was and what will be . I’m caught up in the spring breeze and home and familiar. But the reality of August, the change it will bring, and anxious excitement are all sinking in too. That’s what the end of this story  looks like for me.

With these words, maybe I’m just leaving more questions than answers. But I think it’s okay for our stories to end undetermined. Our stories make us human, a common thread that ties us all together.  At eighteen, my library is light, but the power of stories still holds true. This is just the beginning of endings. More stories are to come and I couldn’t be more excited to see what adventures await.

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