What Happens After “The End”?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to change things. I have always wanted to be able to make the world different, or at least make somebody’s world different. And since writing has always been something I have considered myself at least adequate at, I have always imagined that it would be through my written words that I’d be able to help make these changes. 

I’m honestly not sure if this has ever been the case. 

In fact, I realized the other day that I am 23 years old and if I disappeared tomorrow it is very likely that nothing would happen. I have made no significant changes in the world. And this thought didn’t necessarily come to me as something depressing, but it did make me think. It made me think about a lot of things. Mostly, it made me think about complexity. 

Have you ever wondered what happens after you read the words “The End” on a page or movie screen? What happens after they get home from their epic journey? What happens after the guy runs after the girl and they go off into the sunset? 

Well, I’ve got a few thoughts about this. 

I recently finished a novel in which (spoiler alert) the main guy goes after the woman he loves months after they’ve been torn apart. And honestly, the scene is very sad. You can tell that even after all they’ve been through and everything that has happened, they love each other so much. But they are both terrified. And she tells him that. And he responds with, “We’ll be brave together.” 

And even though it’s true, and very beautiful, what I don’t tell you is what happened later. About how it was very hard for her to ever trust him again. About how it tortured him every day that he had hurt her like that, and how he was worried it might happen again somehow. And I don’t tell you about how even though they loved each other very much there were still obstacles to overcome. There were still moments when they fell into old patterns and she was terrified and the emotional connection between them felt frayed. 

I don’t tell you that there were moments when she wondered if he really would be happier without her. I don’t tell you that he struggled wildly, too. 

I don’t tell you that there is so much more to “The End” than we all think. That “The End” is hard. That “The End” is really just a new bend in the road. That “The End” is just another way of saying, “Let’s start over.” 

But I think that the point of “The End” is to hint at all those things the creator doesn’t tell us about. The point of “The End” is to say that the storm has passed and whoever has faced it is stronger or happier or, if the story is wildly depressing, at least this one storm is now over. 

The point of my “The End” was to tell you that both characters were very, very aware that the future before them wasn’t an easy one. But that they would rather face it together, because they have discovered through all of the not being together that they were meant to face the storms side by side. And it doesn’t mean that it will be easy. It doesn’t mean that everything is now fixed between them. It doesn’t mean that it is all riding off into the sunset. 

It means that they found what they truly wanted, deep in their hearts, and fought for it even though they knew it wouldn’t be easy. It means that they decided to be stronger, even if they didn’t feel like it. It means that they decided to be brave together because it was worth the fight. 

The End

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A Different Kind of War

A Different Kind of War

It is a different kind of war we wage when it comes to love. For in finding our center of gravity we also let go of everything that ties us to the floor of certainties. We don’t realize how many puzzle pieces are missing until we find the soul who owns them. Within this completion is a sense of peace unheard of. Within this wholeness dwell the innermost truths we never dared to whisper out loud, but only dreamed we would actually feel someday. And within this orb of unheard truths we step forward together, hand in hand, heartbeats syncing. We don’t know what is around the blind corners, but nevertheless, we do not let go of each other. Because if nothing else we have discovered that the world makes no sense if we aren’t together.

It is a different kind of war we fight when it comes to love. There are monsters behind those corners, and they attack our orb of pink gold light with weapons made of shadows. But I will fight back to back with you against these attacks and the dark places, those innermost truths my weapon. And if our light sputters and we lose some of the battles, we still press forward hand in hand: always stronger together. Perhaps a day will come when I am not strong enough to fight. When thick gray fog rises to obscure the intricate ties that bind our hearts and souls together. If this should happen, please find me again, and hold me in the home of your arms. Until the beat of your heart beside my ear heals all of the broken parts and makes all of those ties even stronger.

It is a different kind of war we face when it comes to love. As we continue forward we will glimpse peaceful cities and rolling fields so vibrantly green, and perhaps we’ll jump into rivers and dry off again under brilliant rays of sun. We will not always have to fight shadows and monsters. But if a day comes when we enter a dark wood and you should lose your way, remember that I will find you. Or if you find yourself facing an impenetrable wall on all sides, know that I will not stop until I conquer the wall brick by brick. And if it should happen that you fall inside yourself, trapped at the bottom of your soul, never forget that I will always reach for you and pull you back towards the light. One day there may be problems I cannot fix. But I’ll hold you as close as I can while I fight ghosts that haunt you. And keep you safe until morning.

It is a beautiful kind of war we declare when it comes to love. And we know it isn’t a constant war, and in the end, the plenty will outweigh the famine. Perhaps there will be days when I wear a white dress that tickles my feet, and we’ll visit hilltops or orchards of apple blossoms. Or perhaps we’ll find a peaceful library with a nook containing just enough pillows. You’ll read something French and I’ll stick to the Postmodern. And the days like this will make it easier when the white turns to red, and we find ourselves in battle again.

I visited a cathedral once. And saw rows of standards taken into battle. Flags that had seen so much death, and had somehow made it home. Now they hang in places of sanctuary and God. A testament to their victory, to the preciousness of what the fight was for.