In stories there are neat little endings. That is why we say that everyone lived happily ever after. However, even in stories, the endings are not exactly neat. Traditionally, at the end evil is punished and since it is eradicated there are no further conflicts in the kingdom.
Real life does not do this. Evil is not eradicated. Nothing is neat. Conflicts do not disappear. Time keeps moving and life is constantly changing. Very few things are truly resolved in any final way. You pass from one phase in life to the next, always confronting new issues and new challenges and the old ones either grow less important, fade away, or have to be confronted again and again in ever shifting forms.
So, we might live happily ever after, or we might not. Or we might live in a state of general tolerance. In any case, we live.
I am learning to be content with the unresolved nature of life... or at least I hope I am. It's hard to wrap my brain around the idea of being in the beginning of things, the middle of things and also the end of things, all at the same time. It's especially difficult when the endings seem so small that they go almost unnoticed, in an anticlimactic turn around a corner. You expect to see a continuation of the story once you step around, but instead you find a whole host of other things coming up that distract you from the fact that there was no resolution. There was no definitive moment when you were able to let go, you just kept moving and found yourself in the middle of the next beginning.
I can look back on the last couple of years of my life and see so many stories that faded like a mist as new plots popped up. Letting go and accepting that part of my life is over and I can't get it back is harder than I imagined in some ways. There are relationships that I can't go back to, seasons of mothering that I can retrieve, and moments of joy or innocence that I will only ever be able to revisit in my own memory.
Often we are asked if we would change our pasts if we could go back and redo it. Those stories make up part of who we are, and changing them, even if we could, would change who we are. For me, that would be a difficult thing to consent to. I may not be especially unique or even all that special, but the journey I made to get to be who I am is important. Who I am in the end, is important.