Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. I am always reading 2-3 books at one time; usually 1-2 non-fiction books and a good solid work of fiction. At present, my non-fiction reading list includes the complete works of Plato, and one of his successors, a man by the name of Plotinus. Because I like to tackle heavy topics in my non-fiction reading…the kind of topics that really give my brain a workout…I enjoy escaping when I choose to read a work of fiction. Recently, I’ve enjoyed a series of books written by Christian author Stephen Lawhead based on the old British legend of King Arthur. You may be aware that there are multiple versions of this legend, some much older than others. As a student of Celtic British history, Stephen Lawhead has chosen to write a series based on the oldest known British versions of this legend, and each book has been well worth the read.
I enjoy reading a series as opposed to a stand-alone story when I have the chance to, because I appreciate the opportunity for lengthy plot and character development that is available in a multi-book work of fiction. The drawback for me each time that I read a good series is that I get so caught up in the lives of the characters, that finishing the series leaves me with a silly but profound sense of loss. Often, even though I know that the series is coming to a close as I near the end of the last book, I find myself reluctant to finish the final chapter because finishing that chapter means the end of the story.
My reflection on that reluctance brings to mind a difficult question: How do you close a chapter of life?…especially when that chapter just happens to be part of a story that you have very much enjoyed living? We find ourselves doing it often, don’t we? – saying goodbye to family and friends as their part in our story comes to an end?
Interestingly, although this particular series that I am reading has come to an end, the author has begun a new series that follows the same characters, but has a slightly different twist. I’m looking forward to beginning the first book of the series in the near future which is currently the only book available as the remaining books in the series have yet to be written.
Closing a chapter of life is inevitably sad. It is a difficult thing to say goodbye to those whose part in our story has come to an end. There is, however, reason to hope. Just as one chapter draws to a close, the Author of your life and of mine is already in the midst of authoring a new chapter…a chapter ripe with possibility and opportunity…just the next chapter in an ongoing story that is still being written. Honor the past, but also choose to be willing to look forward in anticipation of what the upcoming, unwritten chapters might contain.