Last week I decided to do something I haven’t done in many months (maybe years): I started reading a novel. On my relatively new Kindle, I am never quite sure where I am in relation to the end of a book. Sure, a little dotted scale at the bottom of my screen tells might tell me I have read 13%. But a percentage of an unknown number isn’t very helpful—that is, unless you unknowingly decide to read a 900-page novel.
Evidently, I picked an epic: The Mists of Avalon. But I only realized that it was an involved and lengthy read when someone commented that this wasn’t just any novel. Until that comment, I hadn’t considered how long the book was. I just thought it would be fun. And it’s not that long, heady books intimidate me. If there’s a tome on metaphysics or higher consciousness, I’m your gal. But a novel of this size? No way.
Without a doubt, I would never have started this book if I had realized how long it actually was. My own ignorance, and the fact that books look generally the same on Kindle, made me brave enough to take the plunge. After we reach a certain point in our lives, however, most of us don’t stumble into this happy ignorance very often.
Even now that I can (sort of) see the end of my book, I press on because it’s different—and it’s fun. My little treat of fiction has turned into quite the life lesson, leaving me to wonder how many other things I don’t even start because I’m afraid of how long the journey is, or whether I have enough staying power to make it to the end.
I think this must be the bliss of beginner’s luck, or even beginner’s mind. The freedom comes because we don’t have any clue that we are “supposed” to be intimidated. It’s a continual—even childlike—sense of wonder and possibility, leaving me to wonder, what else could I approach from this fresh perspective? What might I try if I could release my fear of how long the journey is? What might happen if I simply allow myself to enjoy the journey, without worrying whether I make it to the end?
I am sure that I’ll experience some satisfaction when I finish this book. But let’s face it, it’s more fun to be in the middle of an epic novel that to finish one. It’s more fun to climb the mountain than to remember the climb, even if the climb itself is difficult. With every ending, there is a certain letdown, maybe even some grief. And I’ll probably experience both when I finish this novel, until I ask myself, “What’s next.” In that ending, there is a new beginning, and that is always an excellent place from which to start!