When I was a little girl, I always hated finishing a book that had me riveted from beginning to end. The very first book that I fell in love with was “Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B. White. As a matter of fact, I was so caught up in it that I would re-read it every few months. But…when I got to the very end, I would immediately go back and read the first few chapters before putting it back on the shelf. Then, when I started it again months later, I began with the first chapter. I couldn’t cope with the fact that this beautiful story with the characters whom I became so attached to was over. So, I refused to let it be over. Anyone who knows me well is probably reading this while scratching their chin and saying, “Aha! This explains a lot.”
When I got older and mysteries captured my interest, I would start with the first few chapters, and if I was in too much suspense, I would read the last chapter to make sure everything turned out the way I wanted it to before continuing to see how it got that way.
As each of our personal life stories is being written, it’s often almost impossible to be patient to wait to see how the end of “our book” turns out. We imagine every worst-case scenario, because the emotional tension of waiting to find out is too much. We make up our own ending, just so we can decide something, ANYTHING, is resolved. Often as in the books I read, I refuse to accept the end as being THE end, so I try to go back to the beginning and pretend it’s not over.
That may work with books, but it is certainly impossible with life. That’s because if we’re still here thinking and worrying about it, the autobiography is NOT over. I can’t take my children who are all grown, and in their thirties, and stuff them back into their Carters onesies, pretending that their childhoods aren’t over. Their life stories aren’t over, just the first few chapters. The books haven’t really gotten good yet! Each day, each week, each year, there’s a new chapter with a plot twist that tells us another nugget of information that we’ll need to recall later on in our book. I guess we never stop growing like little children; we just lose our wide-eyed wonderment. And we’re not as cute.
So, I no longer need to look at the last chapter in my book or my life first, and I don’t need to go back to the beginning to pretend the end hasn’t happened. We won’t really reach the back of our book until our life on this earth is done, so we can keep adding new chapters all the time. It’s like a traveling dinner party – we just keep moving to the next house to try the next part of the meal. And there is always another dessert waiting to be experienced!
Dance on – the dessert is worth the suspense!
Robin Conrad Sturm is the primary ballet instructor and Executive and Artistic Director of the Northern Virginia Dance Academy and the Asaph Dance Ensemble. Robin recently won InsideNoVa’s Best Author in Prince William honors and also writes a blog. Contact her at Northern Virginia Dance Ensemble: www.nvdance.net/ wp/ or call 703-330-5227.