As we walked out of a movie last night, Jaime asked me “Why can’t all movies just have happy endings?”
This particular flick ended with a broken relationship, a suicide and a someone quitting their job.
I really enjoyed it.
I know Jaime wasn't serious, but I couldn't help thinking about it. I didn’t walk away depressed about the suicide, broken relationship, or lost job. In my opinion, the filmmaker did a good job. I walked away thinking about my own life and my own family and my own friends. I thought about my own job and my own relationships. I thought about well written and spoken stories, and how much I appreciate them, almost regardless of the ending. I also really appreciated the humor that was infused in all the cracks of the story from the very start, even if it dealt with a somber topic and ended on a serious note. But it was a funny movie.
Life is very comedic to me. I find real life pretty funny a lot of the time. I find myself laughing out loud, when nobody is around to see or hear me but me.
I appreciate that life isn’t a fairy tale. I appreciate if you want to do tough things in life, life will be tough. Life will probably even be tough if you’re a slacker trying to skate by on the bare minimum. But I also believe that the story does not end in death, even if it seems that’s when the credits start to roll. And there are lessons to be learned in others’ deaths, providing the story is told well, of course.
Take another movie as an example: A River Runs Through It. Great story, well told, wonderful visuals. The relationships – both tensions and joys – in the MacLean family, between the father and sons, between brothers, with their mother, their women and friends, are all good stories, even if they’re not filled with rainbows and blessed unicorns on every turn. The placement of that beautiful country in Missoula, MT and the Blackfoot River is perfect. It ends with a death, and the living are left to suffer and wonder ‘why.’
Such is life. The story leading up to the death, and the lessons realized in the retrospection of that story, including the death, make the whole movie. Don’t just focus on the end.
A bit meatier food for thought: After the credits roll, your own story continues – with you. So how are you going to help craft and tell your own story?
And the real good news: Even in your own death, it’s not really the end.