ReverendMother is dropping out of the Friday Five business as she readjusts some priorities (kudos to you, RM, for doing what seems best for you!). So today's Friday Five is: On Endings and Goodbyes:
1. Best ending of a movie/book/TV show
Hands down, it's the end of the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can't imagine a more beautiful, poignant way to end such an epic tale. (I won't recount it here to save the spoiler from those of you who haven't had the pleasure as of yet.) In the 1990's I was in the University of Nebraska Wind Ensemble and we played Johan de Meij's Symphony 1: Lord of the Rings which ends, not triumphantly or with a flourish, but with the stately calm and grace embodied in Tolkien's lyric writing. Best of all, Peter Jackson ended the movies in the same way. Brilliant and moving.
M*A*S*H's TV finale would earn a strong second, with Quantum Leap coming in there somewhere as well. Oh, and the ending of Stephen King's The Dark Tower was better than I had expected, especially since the story took a really unfortunate turn in book 6 of the series.
2. Worst ending of a movie/book/TV show
I hated the Seinfeld finale, the Cheers finale and frankly I think someone oughta pull the plug on ER but no one knows how. Also, Robert Jordan recently died, leaving his multi-volume opus The Wheel of Time unfinished. That seems bad form to me - dying before one's work is completed! :-)
3. Tell about a memorable goodbye you've experienced.
1997: my last summer as a staff member at Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. Bawled my frickin' eyes out during our last worship service. I spent five of the best summers of my life working there, and I couldn't believe it was time to go. It was the right time, and I moved on to where I was supposed to be, but there will always be a part of me that just longs to be playing my guitar singing "Dance With Me" or "Day Is Done" while a campfire burns under an open Nebraska sky.
4. Is it true that "all good things must come to an end"?
For us in the life we're given, yes. We move sequentially through time, and Einstein was right: time is relative. We begin and we end, and nothing has made that more clear to me than the birth of my daughter. I'm more than a little trepidatious at the thought of bringing someone into the world and knowing that I won't be there for her at some point, but I'm also awed at the blessing of raising a child in God's creation. Someday I will die - as will everything I love.
Now, having said all that, what kind of Christian would I be if I didn't remind my readers that God's love never ends?
5. "Everything I ever let go of has claw marks on it." --Anne Lamott
Yeah, there's some truth to this as well. Some of those claw marks are what made me realize I had to let go - and some of them I left when my clutching hands could no longer hold what needed to be free.
Bonus: "It isn't over until the fat lady sings." I've never loved this expression. So propose an alternative: "It isn't over until ____________________"
At the risk of giving the "it-sounds-like-a-squirrel-but-I-bet-it's-Jesus" answer, how about this:
"It isn't over until God wipes away every tear from our eyes, and death will be no more."
Tolkien had a good one, too:
"The grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise."
Yeah, that'll do.