For the longest time I have had this rather interesting habit of reading a book and about a third of the way into it, I will ever-so-casually flip to the last few pages of the book and skim-read to see which characters made it to the end.
I know, I know, I know. Sacrilege!
Thing is, it gets worse…
When watching a movie or TV show in the comfort of my home, I’ve been known to grab my phone and nonchalantly search for the move or TV show episode (I’m watching) on Wikipedia under the guise of “getting a plot overview” before I commit myself to sitting the whole film/show. Of course, those write-ups on Wikipedia are so conveniently detailed that I get the entire breakdown of the plot, characters and overall theme in under 30 seconds.
Why do I do this? Simply because I have the insatiable need to know how things end, ahead of time.
Whilst growing up my siblings realised rather quickly that me and suspense of any kind simply didn’t mesh well. We could be watching a fast action thriller or a hilarious comedy, it didn’t really matter, what mattered was to ensure the remote control was nowhere in my vicinity just before a particularly dramatic scene or cringe-worthy comedic scene played out on-screen because I would just flip the channel right before the “good part”. As you can imagine, this made quite an unpopular fixture in the TV lounge for a very long time, lol.
I must note that there are some rare books and TV shows that have been mysteriously exempt from my need to consult spoilers beforehand: J.K. Rowling’s entire Harry Potter series is one…it was hard going, but I managed to not flip ahead and just squirmed (both inwardly and outwardly) my way through it. The same also goes for all Sherlock, Scandal and Mindy Project episodes; they’re just FAR too exciting to spoil ahead of time.
You can imagine how this need to know things ahead of time could be a problem in real-life. Sometimes our realities are rife with curve-balls, plot twists and blind spots galore that rival a Shonda Rhimes and G.R.R. Martin screenplay. Bad news for those of us who crave guarantees and certainty. For the longest time, I wanted concrete answers and some sort of affirmation that some of the more random events of life had an actual purpose. I always believed that having detailed cliff-notes about any situation would help prepare me in advance, for the inevitable…you know, the same way the detailed info I got on the GoT Wiki page prepared for Joffrey’s overdue demise in the finale of Season 4 *hides*
Thing is, what started happening was that without any answers and inklings to life’s bigger questions my usually manageable levels of anxiety went from “not a problem” to “I think chunks of my hair are falling out on the back of my head”. My awesome GP started giving me lengthy inspirational pep talks, like Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights, to motivate me to be less anxious as she wrote out another prescription to combat my latest in a long line of stress-related “flare ups”
Then one day, a few years ago I realised that in my quest to get all the answers and details to all my questions, I had forgotten to address the most reliable source of them all…Google, no just kidding. It was God whom I had neglected to approach with my questions and concerns. I was so busy trying to figure out all of Life’s answers on my own because (as it later dawned) I was in the midst of experiencing a true crisis of Faith.
It took a lot of messy prays and conversations with God, some painful periods of introspection, many a long chat with wise and generous friends who had travelled this path before me and almost 2 years of working through Iyanla Vanzant’s book “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth” to realise that it was simply impossible to get all the answers I wanted and that in itself was not only okay, but a large part of what makes this life we live the remarkable journey that it is.
These days when I find myself actively resisting the urge to flip to the back of a book or look up a movie’s story-line on Wikipedia or lamenting loudly how easier life would be easier if we were all born with toe tags letting us know exactly who, where and what we should be; I know to take some deep breaths and remind myself that it is all well…even if everything seems particularly random and frustrating.
So, when I find myself asking the explicit or implicit question of, “How does it end?” My new-found response (sans nervous tick) is to adopt the Letting-Go-Letting-God ethos and surrender the need to know it all.
This journey of Faith, Peace & Surrender isn’t an overnight one. There are days when I’m perfectly content not possessing my life’s blueprint and then there are days when I’m the human equivalent of a dog chasing its tail.
Not having to know how anything ends, in advance, is an ongoing process and today’s one of those days that I’m quite okay with that…even when the urge to source spoilers never quite leaves, lol.