When Chapters Close

23 Jan

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I remember when I first started reading big girl books that actually had chapters. I was fascinated by how events would wrap up towards a chapter’s close only to have a new plot element introduced. The suspense kept you reading.

I believe our lives also have chapters yet we often are not aware of them. We get so caught up in the day-to-day, we often fail to recognize what events have wrapped up and what is coming down the pike. It’s important to pay attention; to keep a ten thousand foot view. We need to be active readers of our own lives.

Chapters are often noted by geography and the years spent in different places. For instance, certain cities have called to me, propelling me to devote key years of my life in their regions. Because of this, I have always related to the movie “Chocolat,” where the protagonist, played by Juliette Binotte, relocates frequently. When the winds stir, she feels the call to pack up her belongings and set up shop in a new village with her little girl. You could say the character runs from establishing roots. She is after all a gypsy spirit. Yet she also knows the wisdom inherent in the wind’s promptings. It’s important to listen to what howls at night and the dust that whirls around us.

You can’t rush the chapters. It’s not to us to say when they’re finished. Although we’re the central players in our own stories, there are too many other agents at work in the unfolding events. Chapters are done when salient information has been processed, lessons have been learned, and actions have been revealed. Some chapters reflect loss and catastrophe; other chapters reflect great joy and triumph.

Perhaps a better word for significant periods in our lives would be “epochs.” Indeed, epochs are often highlighted by big events – deaths, weddings, births of children, and career changes – but not always. Sometimes, it is just time for change. Nothing much is happening. We’ve reached a period of comfort. Of stasis, stability, and peace. And then voila! The winds stir.

Yet when they do, we know IT. We can feel it. We then know that to stay put and defy transformation is to wind up in the belly of a whale. We’ll be spit out in Ninevah whether we pack our bags or not. To defy fate is to tempt the Maker and just makes our paths harder.

I always know when it is time to move into another epoch of my life when things start happening effortlessly and at an accelerated pace. Opportunities seem to fall out of the sky just by making a few inquiries. Likewise, a flow emerges that sharply contrasts the pushing-a-boulder-up-a-mountain periods we’ve been in previously. We become like leaves floating down a river to the next phase. Excitement eclipses fear and we summon courage despite walking straight into the unknown. It becomes surreal and strange to put belongings into boxes and yet we couldn’t imagine staying another month longer. Like our ancestors, we set sail or sit in a wagon, headed out for the new frontier. These are important moments. They mark our lives. They change the trajectory. They foster our becoming, as we leave behind our old selves and allow our true selves to emerge. And thus, a new chapter begins.

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One Response to “When Chapters Close”

  1. spkliewer January 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    Lovely and wise. Thank you my friend

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