Nothing good ever ends well


Honestly, it’s a thought most of us have heard expressed in some fashion:

“Nothing ends well, or else it wouldn’t end.”

The quote I’m using here is from a friend of mine, and it stands as the first time I can recall ever hearing it given voice. She was talking about a recent relationship, basically summarizing that if things had been good near the end of it, she likely would still be dating her ex-boyfriend. More to the point, if things had been good, they wouldn’t have ended. (Apply to past, present and future tenses as you see fit.)

I won’t go too deeply into the conversation we had over lunch that day—it’s the thought that counts here, and not the specifics—but I do want to add one additional thought that I passed along in return to her that day:

“People don’t change, even when we wish they would.”

And with that, we have two blocks to use in our foundation. Let’s move on…

I have this belief about generations and memorable moments. And before I share it, I should note that a basic idea swirling underneath is the cliché that people that don’t learn from history end up repeating it. Ok…

I believe that all of us will have a handful of “where were you when” moments during our life.

These are those moments when we have an exceptional memory of time and place for ourselves as individuals, though the event shared by the masses almost certainly did not involve you.

Corollary Number One – I believe that universal moments take place roughly at a rate of one every twenty years.

This, of course, isn’t true. At least not in the specific sense. Within a five-year span of time there was an assassination attempt on a U.S. President as well as a major disaster involving NASA and a space shuttle mission.

Instead, sweep with a finer stroke. If asked for universal moments in the past fifty years, chances are that neither the Reagan or Challenger moments I’m mentioning in this segment would be included, though both qualify as dramatic and highly significant.

To that end, we also need to understand that many moments are also deeply personal. And while they may contain the greatest of meaning for you, that does not automatically create a universal moment.

An example? There are people out there that can tell you how amazing it was when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. That said, my guess is that there are more people that would be stunned to find out the Buccaneers have played in a Super Bowl than the number being able to claim the team winning a title as a date etched forever in their memories.

Corollary Number Two – Roughly as each new universal moment occurs, memories of another fade away.

This one is a bit more difficult to explain, but essentially it builds upon corollary number one and means that as a generation that lived during one event pass away so does the widespread significance of that moment.

The generation of my grandparents fought in World War II. While I was growing up, the dates involving Normandy, Pearl Harbor, and the Kennedy Assassination were dates you knew.

My grandparents knew them.

My parents knew them.

I knew them.

Thanks to the expanded editions sent out on Sunday mornings, I can remember as a child every year in early December settling in to look over the newspaper coverage detailing the history of Pearl Harbor. Those mornings of mine took place about thirty years after the event.

Today? In 2020? The day lives in infamy, but not so much in memory. Even with my being aware of it and looking for mention of it, in recent years I’ve found the day has passed without my coming across any coverage.

I will admit that I have placed several items onto the stage for this essay. Looks a bit haphazard as well. But I want you to think, and truly consider what is happening right now locally, regionally, nationally and internationally…

How significantly are things going to change?

Yes… yes… there are going to massive differences around us. Some of them will be temporary. Some will be permanent. And all sorts of new things we never anticipated will be created and implemented and become part of our daily lives as well.

But in the acts of defiance and violence that are taking place… in the words of stupidity and caution that are being expressed… we see in many ways that things do not end well. Good or bad, almost irrelevant, endings are not drawn out as happily ever after.

In the cries for normalcy… seeds of things that haven’t changed.

In the passage of time… failures to appreciate what has happened before.

I’ve said this previously, but it likely needs repeating… there is no such thing as normal. It’s a perception… an interpretation… an understanding of time and place based on an individual and how they bring everything together for their own life.

There’s something to be said for comfort food. For snuggling under a blanket with a good book. For our grandmother’s house. For all the things that make us feel good and safe. That’s what we look toward for normal.

And I think that’s close to what all of us are thinking. We don’t want to get back to normal… at least not for what any stretch of normal can be… we want to get back to comfort. Our comfort. We want our routines back. We want our family and friends back. We want, in an attempt at a two-word definition, our normal back.

And that, in turn, somewhat quietly brings me back to the initial ideas that clanged around in my head until they ultimately inspired this essay.

People in general don’t change. They look for endings from their own personal perspectives and not from any alternative viewpoint that might bring about better understanding and compassion. And over time, they move on, leaving behind the emotions and lessons of today.

I want to believe that tomorrow is going to be better than today. I want to believe in happily ever after. I want to believe we can all treat each other with patience, compassion and kindness. I want… well…

What happened on June 6, 1944? …on December 7, 1941? …on November 22, 1963?

If you knew the answers before reading any of this essay, good for you. If you knew the answers because reading this essay reminded you, thanks for paying attention. If you read this essay and still aren’t sure, I rest my case.


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