My daughter always reads the last page of a novel first. I rarely even read the book jacket. Her reading process begins with knowledge of the starting and ending points. It was an anathema to me. For me, the pleasure in a good novel is the mystery (even in a standard fiction). Working through the possible endings on your own. I enjoy the open ended-ness.
My daughter is also a writer. She has an incredible facility with language and the ability to weave a story. So for years I could not wrap my head around why she would take all the fun out of discovering a new story by knowing the end.
Until I starting counting this year.
We are in the period between Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. Passover celebrates the freedom of the Israelites from Egypt and our freedom to worship God. Shavuot marks the receiving of the Torah, the Bible, from Mount Sinai and enhances our ability to live a better life and serve God. There are 50 days between these two events and some Jews count every day between them.
We count knowing the beginning and the end. What’s the point in counting if it’s not to something? A birthday, the end of school, a vacation. It’s the bookends that give the days meaning.
Random events only become a story when we have a clear start and finish.
Otherwise, things “just happen.” I realize that my daughter’s view of a book is completely different than mine. I just go for the ride – trusting that the writer will take me to the end. Then I either recommend the book or not. As a writer, though, she reads as if she is counting – measuring every detail and plot twist as to how it relates to getting us to the end point. The “how” is just as important as the ride. Every detail has meaning because she already knows where she wants to go.
What would our lives look like if we knew where we needed to go? Every element of existence becomes an integral piece of our story – not random things that just happen to us. Our lives are stories. We definitely have beginnings and ends. Most of us don’t focus on the end and thus don’t pay attention to the detail in the middle.
Leadership Lesson: Let’s try to count each day. Think: how will today fit into the story of my life.