Living with Loose Ends – In ‘Lost’ and in Life

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

Well, for ‘Lost’ fans, the end is near.  And you know what they say, “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.” (Oh what does it mean?!)  

‘Lost’ is such a big deal around here that The Mission is meeting two hours earlier on Sunday night so we can all watch the “pre-game” review show at 7.  I guess when there are 20 people in your church and 15 of them would skip rather than miss one moment of the finale, you just sorta have to go with it.

Last night, Dan and I were talking about the upcoming finale and I asked him, “What needs to happen for you to feel like you have resolution?”

We talked a little about some of the loose ends that need tying up—What made Walt “special”? Why four toes on the statue?  What exactly happened when the hatch did whatever the hatch did? Where did Jacob and Smokey’s fake mom come from?—and decided that there is no way the producers can answer every remaining question in two-and-a-half-hours, even if they interrupt the 11:00 news to try.

So I asked again, “What needs to happen for us to feel like we have resolution? Not all our questions answered.  Not every plotline closed.  Just a basic sense of resolution and closure that assures us that getting lost in this story wasn’t a complete waste of our time."

This is what we came up with: 

We want to know what the island is and why the main characters are there.

Pretty basic.

We want to know the ultimate significance of the island—(Is it where good and evil are balanced? Is it a portal to all alternate universes? Is it just a figment of Hurley’s imagination?)—and we want to know what the characters from Oceanic Flight 815 are there to learn—(Were they “brought” to the island for a specific purpose or did they simply happen upon it? How will their stories be redeemed? What resolution will the characters find?)

We figured that if these questions get answered, we can get over the ones that don’t.

And I think it’s that way in real life too.

The odds are slim that we will ever arrive at a place in our lives when all of our questions are answered, all our loose ends tied up, all our stories finished with “happily ever after.” Hit the pause button on the average person’s life, and there are probably dreams yet to be fulfilled, tragedies yet to be explained, serendipitous blessings that continue to defy explanation, existential questions without apparent answers, and relationships that still aren’t back to where they used to be.

Sometimes it seems like all we can do before the end is make progress—toward reconciliation, toward peace, toward resolution. 

And it’s in the progress that we experience the peace that comes with a sense of purpose and growth in spite of all the mysteries.


Lost fans: What needs to happen Sunday night in order for you to feel a basic sense of resolution at the end of this story?

Everyone: How do we achieve resolution in life when we are not guaranteed tomorrow and when it’s unlikely all our loose ends will be tied before the end?

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