Closure and Other Fairy Tales

I’ve come to regard closure as I regard fairies or unicorns. Lovely to talk about and even to hope for but not real. Some people say it exists but who knows really. It’s as if regret and open wounds are potholes in the timeline of life that we’d like to just cover and no longer have to deal with. But in reality they are puddles of both good and bad things that are easy to fall back into because of their being open all the time.

Relationships fit this discussion best: the ones that just couldn’t or wouldn’t neatly tape themselves up for whatever reason. I believe that the reason they don’t is very important, albeit frequently and inconveniently uncomfortable. Whether it’s to remind us of bits in our life that we still long for but maybe don’t have or bad things to keep us from making the same mistakes over and over, it all matters. A lot. And if we can look at those open holes of memory as information rather than a scab that just didn’t heal right and must be picked at until it does, then we have a chance to grow.

It’s just so confusing though and challenging to take those pangs of regret or longing and not assume it means we missed something back then. That we need a do over with that person or in that circumstance. Discomfort seeks immediate gratification and so the compulsion to act in a way that will likely end up predictably disappointing can be very strong. But maybe if we can just take those feelings from the past as hopes and lessons for the future we could reduce the amount of avoidable suffering we experience now and maybe even move toward more satisfaction in the future by allowing both longing and repulsion to steer our lives forward (as opposed to backward again and again) where they need to go. What if its all just wisdom? What if we could just fold it into who we are now, carry it with us and be with the discomfort when it calls to us? Then we allow ourselves to feel how deep and complex we really are.

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