You press the book into your grandmother’s hands and beg her to read it aloud. You’ve heard it a hundred times already, but you will never tire of turning the pages of this particular story: The Monster at the End of This Book.
There’s Grover, telling you that he’s scared of the monster at the end of this book, so please don’t turn any pages. But of course you don’t listen because where’s the fun in that? You know the monster isn’t as scary as Grover believes him to be. So while Grover is begging and pleading, you laugh and turn another page to hear your grandmother’s voice exclaim: “You turned another page!”
Poor Grover. He’s boarding up, tying up, and bricking shut pages, hoping that will keep you from turning another one, but you are simply too strong. You’ve reached the climax. You’re on the page before the end—the only thing separating you from the monster. Grover trembles, sweats, begs, says “please” four times… And you turn the page.
Grover is the monster at the end of the book. He spent the whole story trying to protect himself from, well, himself.
All those years I spent curled up at my grandma’s side, I had no idea that this book would become a mirror of my life. And if I did, I would have imagined I’d be the one laughing and turning the page. I’m not sure when I turned into Grover, but I did.
I’m afraid of turning pages.
I’m afraid of the monster at the end of the book.
Life is so fragile and uncertain that I sometimes just want to stay here where I know exactly what is happening. So I pound in the nails and I stack up my bricks and I tell myself that I’m safe from what happens on the other side of the page.
I turn my eyes heavenward and whisper, “Please don’t turn the page.”
But He does. Because He knows I need to arrive at the end of the story. Because if I don’t get there, the title is all wrong. There won’t be a monster at the end of the book. And this book needs a monster.
I don’t want to spend my story fighting and fearing and trembling and trying. I want to be the fingers fearlessly flipping pages. I want to stand there with arms wide open, ready to accept whatever waits for me on the other side.
I reach for the corner and…
Why, yes, I did turn the page.
I did, and it didn’t kill me.
I did, and I’m not afraid.
I think I’ll turn another.