Closure doesn't mean getting the last word. It means having an honest conversation. It means understanding the context. It means understanding, period. Understanding requires compassion. It requires respect. When respect and compassion are missing from the equation, so is closure. Which makes new beginnings really difficult.
My grandmother, who was my mother in every way, had this saying about endings: "Never fully close any door. Always keep it open a crack...."
But how can I walk away, Grams, with an open door? Seems like an opportunity for the thieves and liars of this world. If only she were here to answer.
Open doors mean an open heart. A tall order for what is only a mere possibility. Possible does not mean probable. And yet, without closure, a mind like mine, programmed for solutions, will continue to look for ways to solve "the problem" until that door is locked and the key, flushed down some cosmic toilet. And even then, there'd have to be a giant sign that says, "Dr. Rebecca Housel Need Not Apply" for me to understand that even if the door can be opened, it can't be opened by me.
In my world, a world where the strength and courage to fight for, well, everything, has been honed my entire existence in order for me to still exist, there is no such thing as giving up. I don't. On anyone. But people do give up on me. Because it's easier, not because it's right. And though I understand the innate weaknesses of the human heart, it's still hard to accept without the gift of closure.
I have done and said many things I regret. Human weakness, remember? No one is immune. But if a person has done and said regretful things, and truly regrets it, a second chance is always implied. That's how I was raised...to leave the door open a crack, no matter what. Because being open to possibility is more important than putting limits on life based on probability. Probability is a numbers game and I've always been more comfortable with words. Like my grandmother. Though she may have said it differently. Something along the lines of, "Everything always works out."
Numbers are meaningful. All patterns are. They help define our world. But only as a tool. Numbers are not as powerful as grammar. There can never be a period at the end of any equation. That's something only words can accomplish. My words. And yours. Only we can decide how to end our story. Disappearing or running away is not a period. It's an ellipses. Continuation is implied.
But many things are implied. Implication is not a definitive. When someone asks you to get married, and you accept, the implication is that you will marry that person. Yet not all engagements end with a wedding.
My brother and I were having this very philosophical discussion the other morning over these marvelous little pancakes that could bring peace to the Middle East they're so good. If only pancakes could solve all of our problems. My brother's premise is that no one can be truly trusted, so implications are meaningless. In other words, anyone can say they promise to do anything, whether it's something as minor as picking up milk from the corner store, or, as life-changing as committing to having a child--but no words can ever be taken seriously without verification. Which means, the promise for picking up milk is fulfilled when a new gallon of milk sits in your fridge. And the promise to have a child? Only real if a baby is in your arms.
While that works in the abstract worlds of business and politics, in matters of the heart, or any personal relationship, promises have to mean something more than just empty words. When you make a promise, even if, in the end, you can't keep it, you should honor your words, and the person you spoke them to, by honestly explaining why. Again, that requires compassion, respect--not just for the person you made a promise to--but for yourself. And, your choices.
I thought 2014 was the beginning of my second chance. I really did. And I embraced the change. Fearlessly. I was open, present and mindful. I thought I was also being intelligent. But every choice I made did not so much turn a new page...it was more like closing a book, ripping it in half, and pushing the pieces through an industrial shredder.
Despite the shredded pages of my last year, I still need closure. And I need it bad. Because every day that I don't get it, I come closer to another kind of ending. One with definitive finality. You see, I'm a rhetorician. One who can write like the devil. So Hell isn't that intimidating. I know how to use words, and their grammatical twins. Which means, I have the authority to end a chapter properly. Many writers have proven that notion, like Hemingway. And Virginia Woolf.
If closure is so important to survival, why would anyone withhold it? Because it can feel like a bigger risk to confront your past. You might be judged. You might get yelled at. But those are just excuses. It's easier not to face the consequences of your decisions. Because if you were to stop running away, you might have to acknowledge you made a mistake. A big one. Perhaps giving closure may mean recognizing that you lost a chance at an opportunity to better yourself and/or your life. Because of your cowardice. And THAT is pretty damn scary. But if you have any respect, any caring at all, you'll take the risk rather than live with regret. Because when you give someone closure, you give it to yourself as well. That's the best way to end 2014. And you never know...closure may not mean the end. It may be like hitting a reset button. I mean, anything is possible. Especially in a new year.
Put the period at the end of the sentence. So that the possibilities of the next one are as infinite as the human soul....