Thursday, April 28, 2011

Short Stories and Letting Go

Try as I might, I've never been a fan or short stories, preferring the depth and breadth of a novel instead. I appreciate the challenge of a short story, the need to draw in the reader in a short amount of time, develop characters and create a snapshot with words, but I'm always left hanging with the abruptness of the ending and wanting more.

It occurred to me that life is comprised of both novels and short stories. While we were traveling in the south, we had the opportunity to meet a number of people who were staying at the same inn and enjoyed sharing a conversation or two during our stays, over meals or drinks at night. We met an interesting couple from Sydney, Australia, who now live in London. A group of six from Texas who get together once a year in a different city somewhere in the US. A young man in a bar sitting next to us who went to the same small college that Joe did in NY. One couple was even from the town next to ours in MA, much to all of our astonishment!

Although it felt strange to say goodbye after becoming friendly and sharing a meal or drink together, we all eventually went our separate ways. Perhaps it's odd, but I'm left wondering: do they enjoy the rest of their trip? Did they like the restaurant we recommended? There is a chance we'll cross paths with the couple from Marblehead at some point in the future, but the likelihood that we'll ever see anyone else we met is slim. We enjoyed each others' company while we had it, but said goodbye and best of luck when we parted, knowing we would probably never see one another again.

The lesson of letting go and allowing fate to send us in different directions applies to nearly everything: stories, life, friendships, youth, health. If we're able to handle these things with grace then we are truly at peace with the nature of things.

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