The Grand Finale

5 Jul

Every year we gather under a sweaty darkening sky. The July heat surrounds us, pressing down on us, reminding us why air conditioning  was invented. We round up little ones, hold hands with lovers, hold our breaths and wait for the show to begin.

Boom! Crash! Sounds like thunder, bright as lightening, but the sky is void of clouds and the earth is dry despite the humidity, skin moist with spilled sno-cone and sweat. We “Oooooh,” and “Awwww,” still holding on to the feelings of being in rapture after all those years, still remembering what is good in life: family, friends, freedom.

We fill with hope every time a new colorful explosion cascades light across the night.

Across the nation, people stop and stare, looking up, for maybe the first time in months. Despite the barking dogs and crying babies, there is a peace in the booms and crashes that could be mistaken for gunfire, but on this day are something safe, something meaningful, something brilliant.

We enjoy the moment, the colors, the flashes, but really, we wait in anticipation for…

The grand finale.

Every child whispers in excitement to his parent, “Is this it?”

We all want it to come, because we want to experience the most spectacular part of the evening, even though we know it is the prerequisite to the end.

Inherently we know beyond the cynicism spoken that all good things come to an end, the deeper truth that all  good things come at the end.

The dessert. The movie or book where you end with a tear in your eye and an enormous sense of satisfaction.

We think we want the end of things to go smoothly, to be steady, to be a nice and easy ending with resolve,

Yet maybe what we really want is a grand finale.

Maybe what we all hope for, underneath our addiction to comfort,  to slowly backing down and easing our way out of this season, or this life,

is to go out with a bang.

We fear growing old, being dependent, being immobile. We are so conditioned to be safe and secure, to avoid risk, to have a great retirement plan where our biggest goal is to stay out of a nursing home.

We are told it is inevitable this life-sucking something that happens as we grow up: to lose passion, to lose fire. We think we want to sit down and blend in. We can hardly hold on to our wonder and awe that once held our gaze, captivated to the sky every Independence day.

But we don’t have to lose it.

We can hold onto the spark.

We can see each day as an extraordinary adventure.

We can hold fast to the idea that the older we get, the more exciting life becomes. The more you mature, the more less you care about what people think. The more you see what matters. The more you are able to follow your passion.

There is no reason to fear death, if anything, fear fading away and fizzling out. Whether it be the death of a relationship, a dream, a idea or belief we once held fast too, or the ultimate death when we breath our last breathe and are taken into the light, make it a grand finale.

Does it have to start with a broken heart
Broken dreams and bleeding parts
We were young and the world was clear
But young ambition disappears
I swore it would never come to this
The average, the obvious

I’m still discontented down here
I’m still discontented

If we’ve only got one try
If we’ve only got one life
If time was never on our side
Then before I die
I want to burn out bright

Switchfoot- Burn Out Bright

One Response to “The Grand Finale”

  1. steve July 6, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    This piece is simply amazing! What a gift you have to express what we all feel but strain to articulate. You are my favorite writer.

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