While spending time with my family for Christmas last week, we had a discussion about Television vs. Movies.
My uncle (who spent a good deal of his life designing and building Television sets for Toshiba/Magnavox, even holding several patents which include picture-in-picture) prefers movies. Why? Because he only likes stories that have an ending. He would rather go see a two hour movie that has a beginning, middle, and end instead of watching a TV show that continues from one week to the next.
I get that. I do. I'm so unbelievably glad we got a conclusion to LOST. I'm excited that a ratings-struggling show like Chuck would survive long enough to end the way it wants to. I'm glad that The Closer is going out in style. I totally understand my uncle's reasoning. It's nice to have closure.
But, the more I thought about what he said, the sadder it made me. I started thinking about how fun it is to chat with friends about a week's worth of Television. I'll call up a friend and say "Did you just see that?" or "What did you think about this week's episode?" and it sparks a great conversation. With a movie, you can analyze it just as much, but after a while, it's over. The conversation finishes.
And, then, I started thinking about life in those terms. Am I only happy with life's ending? How sad is that thought? As a Christian, I believe the end to my Earthly life is the beginning of an Eternal life, so in that regard, it's not sad (it's to be celebrated, actually), but then I don't believe that I'm only supposed to think about the ending while I'm alive. I believe we are to live life while we're in it and THAT is what makes me sad about my uncle's view. I'm not just content with an ending. I want to experience the beginning and middle just as much. In Television and in Life.
For instance, just this week, I had the opportunity to either pay more money than I would have liked for a BCS Championship game ticket to see the rematch of LSU vs. Alabama or not pay the money and just go visit New Orleans. Originally, I didn't want to spend a lot of money and would have been fine with just being in town for the big game, but then I thought, "Why hang onto this money (that I have and would be financially okay to part with) and NOT experience something amazing?". Maybe I was/am justifying my large spending, but at the same time, I think it's a legitimate thought. Would I look back at the end of my life and think "Man, I wish I had just spent that money and enjoyed that time"?. I think that maybe I would.
Even when two of my favorite Television shows (V and All My Children) were cancelled this year, I was okay with it. With V, we may not have gotten to see it, but I know how it would have ended. Erica would have teamed up with Project Ares, kicked some lizard tail, and had a happy ending with Jack. Oh, I'm thinking Lisa would have defeated her mother and took over as Queen. All My Children's cliffhanger ending didn't bother me, either, because there's a certain comfort in knowing that even though we don't get to follow them anymore, the citizens of Pine Valley are still living crazy lives, filled with drama.
The cancellations remind me that every story has an ending even if it never gets written.
I guess it's fitting that I felt lead to write about this today, of all days. Tonight, New Year's Eve, is the end of 2011. The story of this past year will be over. Tomorrow, a new story begins and I'll get to enjoy a new story without knowing how it will end.
And, in some ways, that's how I like it.