I don’t like open loops. Things left undone. Songs left unfinished. Jokes interrupted before the punch line. My mind keeps chewing on them. It’s that broken record that repeats and repeats the same line over and over and over. Finish already!
I’m told this a normal thing. To want to bring something to completion. Our minds crave this. In fact they do it on their own. Supposedly, it’s the remedy for that Beatles song that is stuck in your head mid-phrase. Apparently, we humans tend to add our own endings or fill in our own details – even when they’re not accurate or not offered. Even if we don’t know the words.
We need to have a complete story.
But I have been troubled recently by a trend I see. It’s the “let’s just not worry about closing the loop.” No RSVP. No return phone call. A question asked that no one answers. Okay, call me odd, but I actually feel compelled to answer. Unless prevented by an extreme circumstance, I absolutely RSVP even it’s “no thanks.” I respond to the email. I tell you if I can’t show up or just don’t want to. My friend Mary Lou taught me this very helpful phrase, “Thank you for thinking of me, but that’s not my opportunity.”
I find people appreciate this, perhaps because so many loops remain open out there. We are forced to presume it’s a “no” when people don’t respond. Maybe they are just uncomfortable saying no. I get that. Me too.
But lately I have been picturing that open loop. A wedding band not yet united, the rope not yet knotted, the thread pulled lose and not secured. Things yet to be done wait for me. They keep pestering me to finish them off. I’m not sure I ever realized just quite how much power they were exerting on me. I tried to dismiss them, put them off, or just pretend that it didn’t matter to me whether the loops were closed or not.
But it does.
Why? I think part of it is that Beatles song phenomenon. So much mental and emotional energy invested in the continuous unproductive loop. But there’s more. God wants me to decide what to do. To make a decision yay or nay. It may even be more important that I make a decision than exactly what my decision is. Because once I respond, I close that irritating loop and can move onto the next one clamoring for attention.
Yes, I hate to say no. But the freedom I feel to say yes makes it worth it. ‘No response’ has left me in limbo for such a long time. Perhaps those non-RSVPers don’t experience the limbo. Maybe they can just write it off and never give it a second thought. Not me. I’m meant to close loops.
And I say loops plural, because part of what had been hanging me up was the notion that I had been only assigned one. One story to tell but to tell it perfectly. Nope. As I put the last period on the last sentence and send it off to the editor, I am not even done with my ahhh when the next loop opens.
That God. Do you suppose He has been sitting there the whole time, tapping His foot and looking at His watch? Maybe. I am grateful for His eternal patience. My goodness, am I ever.
And I guess I should stop complaining about all the loops in my life and start giving thanks for them. What a privilege it is to be one of those people that just has to make the connection in everything. I am a storyteller after all.
And when I just don’t see the connection, I trust there is an end to the story I can’t yet see. Because the Greatest Storyteller of All brings us all to completion, from start to finish. It’s a promise.