Those last few pages of every journal rankle me. They always have. I don’t want to write them. I always want to leave them blank and open a new book of empty pages to start anew on a stack of fresh hope piled up under the weight of my hand with pen ready angled to scratch out this next book’s story.
I am unsure if it’s the new pages that I want so much, or if it’s the last pages that I don’t want so much.
Sometimes I force myself to write all the way to the last page. I consciously keep returning to that journal until it’s finished, because leaving those last pages blank is a waste of paper, a waste of writing space, a waste of those last pages of hope. More than once, I’ve considered ripping out the last few pages in some vain effort to hide the fact that I didn’t write on them, but I know I’m not going to fool myself. I will look at those frayed edges and at the too wide space between the back cover and the last page, and I will know. You tore out those pages all those years ago in hopes of erasing that you didn’t use them. Instead you just threw them away. Hope in the trashcan next to used tissue and fingernail clippings.
Sometimes I leave the pages blank and open up the next journal, pretending like it doesn’t bother me to leave the last book unfinished before starting this one. Usually, that happens when the journal is nearly used up and it’s the first day of a new month or year. I rationalize my decision by telling myself that it only makes sense to start a new journal when it’s a new month or a new week. Or a new season. Or a new Tuesday. Or a new pen.
Sometimes I wonder what my great-granddaughter will think when she looks through these journals and finds the last pages in so many of them blank. Great Grandlady struggled with finishing. (Yes, I am Grandlady in my imaginings, because no one in my real life will indulge me enough to let me name myself that someday, so I enjoy the stellar name in my make-believe future).
Great Grandlady struggled with finishing.
The piles of clutter and stacks of folded laundry betray me with equal volume as the blank pages. I prefer beginning to ending. I prefer the mess in the middle. I prefer the quick descent of the falling action to the close of the story. And I think this is true, because
I don’t believe in endings.
I believe in To Be Continueds.
There is always something coming along next. Life keeps going. The story doesn’t end, and somehow, not writing to the last page of the journal symbolizes in the deep place that the story isn’t over.
Because even when my body stops, my last day here isn’t actually my last day. When my hand can no longer hold a pen, my story doesn’t stop being written.
Because my story is a part of The Story.
And His Story “goes ever on and on,” as the old Middle Earth walking-song says of the road of life.
So, I leave these last pages blank, I have decided, because they are my way of reminding myself that this little story of mine is but a line in His Story. These last blank pages are not wasted space. They are not abandoned hopes.
They are sacred space reserved for Him.
They are my small way of saying, I don’t have the final word in this tale. You do.