In stories, as in life, it’s the need for resolution that keeps us turning pages
I’m tickled to present a guest post from my long-time (not old) friend Lori Schweers about resolution.
Recently I found myself in the middle of an all-out Grey’s Anatomy binge-fest. I blame the Texas summer heat which forces me to seek refuge indoors in the comfort of air conditioning and ceiling fans on high. I blame the fact that I had painters in my house that needed supervision. I blame my dogs because they needed company while the painters were painting. I blame the recently cut cable service which left Netflix as a viable option for entertainment during the heat. I blame raising young children in the 2000’s when the show started for never watching a single episode.
But really I should blame my love of resolution.
Each 42 minute episode of Grey’s ends with a dilemma in the storyline. Hence my need to seek the resolution of said dilemma in another episode. Which ends 42 minutes later with…another dilemma. I’m embarrassed to admit how many episodes I’ve binged on despite the completion of the painting project.
A podcast called, “Undisclosed” has an astounding 20 million listens (yes, MILLION according to the Facebook page). The podcast is a follow-up to NPR’s podcast, “Serial” that tracked the case of Adnan Syed who was sentenced to life without parole 15 years ago. “Undisclosed” follows the finer points of the case in hopes of discovering critical information that could prove Syed’s innocence. Once again, those of us who are hopelessly addicted to the story are searching for resolution.
Our lives are multi-layered stories with tension and dissonance and a yearning for resolution. We live in the tension of waiting for a medical diagnosis, children to grow up and fly away, employment to begin, vacations to commence, a loved one to come visit, a wayward child to find their way home and even the simple resolution of a dissonant chord played in a musical piece. Our heart’s desire is to know the rest of the story and have life’s mysteries solved and answered. It reminds me of my favorite movie, “When Harry Met Sally” and watching Harry (Billy Crystal) always read the end of the book first to decide if he even wants to read the story.
Since being married, my husband and I have endured three (a couple lengthy) rounds of unemployment. My comment each time was that it would be so much easier to bear the wait if we knew how long it would be until the unemployment would end. I want to be like Harry and read the end while stuck in the middle or at the beginning. Hanging out in life’s waiting room is uncomfortable and tense. But yet, it is a part of everyone’s story in big and small ways.
Last week I finished A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Miller likens our lives to a story narrative. It made me wonder what kind of story I was telling with my life and I can’t help but ask, how can I live a better story? How do I live well in the tension of dissonance, problems, and unanswered questions until resolution comes (if it ever comes)? That’s a tricky question.
Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. I probably have more questions than answers most of the time. I have always appreciated others who are authentic in their struggles. There’s hope in walking alongside those who are living in the tension of the unknown, but living good stories by loving others well during difficulties. I can say that my faith helps during times of waiting. I have a deep belief that there is a purpose to difficult times and waiting for resolution. When I look back at those crazy hard days when answers seemed out of reach, I can see how my character was being forged into something better and tougher. Writer Philip Yancey says, “I have learned faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Wise and true words.
I am sure that all the hours I’ve wasted invested binging on Grey’s Anatomy will never bring resolution to Meredith and Dr. McDreamy’s story. But I do have faith that living a good story – even in the middle of dissonance and tension – will eventually bring a satisfying resolution.
Lori is the wife of Craig, mom of two grown sons and mom to two spoiled fur-kids of the canine variety. She is a coffee snob and chocoholic who enjoys writing about her observations of life from an empty nest in Texas suburbia. You can find her most current blog musings at https://blackbirdsandwildflowers.wordpress.com.