A Short Story is short on purpose. The author has a set number of words in which to tell the tale. Each word has to be important and to move the story along to its conclusion. But what about life stories? Like each word, each day is important. Each moves a life along to its end. I believe, as the Musician Cat Stevens wrote, some lives are “only dancing on this earth for a short while.” I have two brothers whose stories only had a couple of letters. My first daughter’s had not quite 30 chapters. When God/Nature/Fate is in control, that’s okay. But what about when Man, in his finite wisdom(?), takes control.
On May 8th, 2017, an article was published in the Utah newspaper, The Deseret News. It told of a young man with only 18 chapters of story who was facing legal charges. He helped a young woman with only 16 chapters written, end her life’s story. He helped her buy supplies, find a place in the nearby woods and establish a setting. Then he watched her die. He did this to discover if this was something he could go through with.
People magazine, June 26, 2017, printed an article about a young woman with only 20 chapters in her story who is facing up to 20 years in prison for actively encouraging a young man of 18 chapters to end his story. She texted him, keeping him on task. At one point, when he wanted to back out, she ordered him with profanities to continue.
No one who values the light, colors and varieties of life wishes to leave it. Therefore, it seems to me that all four stories had paragraphs, pages, even chapters of sad, depressing words that fogged over the beauty of living and put each person in a place of cold, damp gray. If one remains in that place long enough, one will do anything to get out.
Those who have removed themselves from that place, and life, I believe are now in the light of God’s infinite love and will see much more than gray. The rest of their eternal stories will be written with many more beautiful words.
For those still in this world, UtahBlueDevil from Durham, NC commenting on the Deseret News article put it beautifully. “You have to wonder what could have gone so wrong (in) a short 16 or 18 years to have some kids with so much ahead of them to make such a horrible decision. There are many chapters in life, some good, (some) less so. But few of them last, and there is always a chance to write a new chapter, with a different ending. I feel and pray (for) the parents and families of both of these kids. It is nothing any family should have to deal with… under any circumstances.”
What kind of pages will the two older young people write in prison? Will they have a chance to use beautiful words or will their words stay fogged over?
What about you and I? What words are we using to write our stories? How do those words help or hurt us and those around us? I have too much fog causing words in mine. One thing is certain, the next time my second daughter calls me “anything but human”, I plan on smiling. After all, she is still here to swear.