Several months ago, I began watching a t.v. series on Netflix. Five seasons, one hundred episodes. (For those curious, it was "The Ghost Whisperer". And yes, I really liked it. Guilty pleasure #129 admitted.) The show was cancelled after season five.
Last night, I watched episode 100.
When I turned off the t.v., I felt this strange emptiness. I sat there in the dark for a little bit and just processed it.
I'd never know if Aidan kept believing, if the Shadows really were that strong, if the antique store stayed in business. These people I'd followed (characters though they may be) had no more stories to share.
We've all been there.
Closing a fiction story that had us enthralled or walking out of a movie theater, we find ourselves readjusting.
In each of these situations, we are able to use logic for comfort. Of course that character didn't really exist, so it's ok that they died. Of course that town isn't really on the map, so it isn't that devestating that I'll never know what happened after the season was cancelled. Of course that story line was just imagined, so it's easier just to forget about it.
But logic is just another story. Our life is a series of these. While we are able to test the waters by reading or watching about death or ghosts or travel adventures, most of us are not willing to fully experience the stories in our own lives.
Because in this reality, we can't turn off the t.v. We can't just stop reading if it gets too scary. And when the season ends, when people die, there isn't a possibility of a miraculous resurrection. Far easier just to drift into a reality that we can control....or at least turn on and off.
In that darkness after the 100th episode clicked off, I couldn't help but think of these things.
When my father took his life, my reality ended.
There wasn't a story to return to - what was would no longer be. Ever.
We've all been there too.
Whether walking away from the t.v. or out of the funeral home, this thing we call "life" goes on. We realize that whatever we were immersed in, whatever we were experiencing - whatever we called real - no longer exists. And yet something, something flows on.
Reality wears many masks. A t.v. show, a relationship, a scientific truth. All real in one way or another. And yet, none more real than another. We experience a sense of loss when the hero fails on the screen. We cringe at embarrassing moments, laugh when that catch phrase pops up again, cry when someone dies. We feel it most deeply when we are present for it.
We feel it most deeply when we consider it as real.
Then that moment ends.
That moment, that reality, over.
And another opportunity presents itself.
Can we move out of the last moment without forgetting it, rejecting it, or clinging to it? Can we move into this moment and experience it without expectation or judgment?
Reality is perspective. Perspectives change, realities end. Again and again and again and again.
Shows are cancelled. Credits roll. Relationships end. People die.
New shows, new titles, new relationships, new beginnings.
It is well worth considering: What will you do when this reality ends?
NEW: In very synchronous timing, my dear friend Connie put up a post yesterday as part of an ongoing project she is doing in tribute to a friend who left this life far too early. She asked others to contribute by sharing photos of the sky that they are standing under, and to share stories of who they were submitting the photos in honor of.
I'd given one to her in honor my father, whom I mentioned above. (It is the first time his name has been mentioned in this blog in many months.)
She has invited people to post their sky photos on their own sites, and to share a bit about the person ...as I envision it, the person who shares this sky with me. (I encourage you to view her heart-touching video.)
I feel it best just to let a post I wrote last fall speak for this photo, for me, for my dad. For now, it is enough. I open myself to the stories that fill this grand sky of ours, to think of Connie and her pain, of everyone who knows of that pain. I remember that this, too, is reality. This, too, is a passing moment - an end -- and a new beginning.