“A good book has no ending.”

I was happy this past weekend.  Simply happy.  My weekend was similar to amazing memories of days gone by, only more mature and somehow better than the beginning.  I went to Toronto where I gorged myself on menus of yummy treats and shopped until my heart’s content.  It was amazing.  It was me –- it fit so perfectly.

While browsing aisles of DVDs, I came across a quote on the back of a movie jacket that stopped me in my shopping tracks.  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” the quote read.  Now I know this quote, its origins, its claim to fame, but for some reason I really read it this time and the words pierced my heart. 

In one, small beautiful package this quote sums up how I feel right now, in this moment.  I had my plans and even substitutions and other variations of them incase I needed to alter them last minute.  My plans had plans and I knew what I was doing and where I was going.  It’s not to say that my plans have changed, but in the past two weeks I am wondering if life really does have it’s own plan for me and maybe I am the one who needs to do some reconfiguring.  Maybe Life is its own beautiful, complicated being and maybe we just need to allow the control to drip off our fingers and into the hands of something stronger than we can ever hope to be.  Maybe God really does laugh at us as we each painstakingly choose a life path without a map.  Maybe that destiny was never ours to claim in the first place.

Someone unlocked the door and walked back into my life two weeks ago, someone I treasured more than anything in this world.  The person I never thought would return came back at a time I never expected.  And while things had changed, time had happened, feelings were still alive, bubbling quietly under the surface. 

All of the events of the past 14 days have lead me to wonder: Is “happily ever after” just a single moment in time, a shining glimmer of beauty, or is it a state of being?  And why, as humans, can’t we just let life happen instead of wishing for a single moment of bliss?

It’s the story book romance, the Hollywod-fade-out as Prince Charming and his princess dreamily dance into the bliss of happily ever after that so many girls, including myself, imagine, and maybe even secretly hope for.  But why?  We never had the chance to see the love-enthroned couple ten years down the road, making ends meet to feed their five hungry babies, did we?  As beautiful, picturesque and idealistic as the fairy tale of “ever after” is, it’s not realistic.  Sorry ladies, but we’re all going to have less-than perfect “fat days” in which every word out of our spouse’s mouth is one step closer to committing a homicide.  It happens, it’s life and maybe instead of striving for the wedding of perfection or the single moment of romantic bliss, we need to skip the idealism and allow Life to take us where we need to be, in that moment.

I never dared to wish or even allow myself to think the possibility of this person re-entering my life.  It seemed too hopeful, too naïve a thought to ponder and I learned, with a heavy heart, to accept the reality of our permanent separation.  And then life happened and I took its bumpy, scenic ride into the unknown.  Like a DVD, life offers a variety of possible and alternate endings.  Some make you laugh, others make you cry, but the options are always there, the “what could have been” always looms in the shadows and just when you think you’ve mastered life and figured it out, boom! Life happens again with a new path, a new day and a new alternate ending.

This past week, I’ve heard the voice of Reese Witherspoon in my head, on permanent replay.  In “Sweet Home Alabama,” Witherspoon’s character, newly engaged to a famous city mogul, finds herself back home to her roots inAlabama.  Expecting to severe all ties with her soon-to-be ex-hubby, Witherspoon is shocked to find herself falling back in love with him.  She had her new, shiny city life all mapped out, only to find that a marriage to her ex fits too.  “I’m happy in New York Jake. But then I come down here and… this fits too.”

I’m ready to throw out my maps and guides to the city of Life.  For the past two years of my life, I’ve learned to stand alone without the crutch of another body holding me up.  I know now that I can withstand the worst with less than I expected to have and that I can make it on my own.  Maybe that’s all I needed to know.  Life is going to happen whether we like it or not, the trick is in learning to accept that we never really had control in the first place.  Maybe we don’t hold the maps, but we do control our own attitude, and maybe we have to enjoy each day as if it were our special happily ever after.  Only Life knows what my future holds and how my story will end.  But I do know that I always loved this person.  And this alternate beginning fits too.

 

(Photos via Visualizeus)

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