What is your current place of peace and safety?
You may or may not be familiar with a psychotherapy technique called EMDR. Briefly, it's used to retrain the brain to help people recover from trauma. After the work has been done for the session, the therapist helps take the client to their "safe place", a place the client can visualize a sense of peace and safety. A denouement is a little like that. It's those places and times in our lives when we can let out a deep sigh.
Now I don't know about you, but rarely in my life have I felt like all my questions have been answered. Life's a bit different than literature that way. Nevertheless, we need places in our lives where we can at least lay the questions down and remember what makes sense to us.
In my history with the evangelical church in the United States, I went on a lot of retreats. They were usually a day or two set aside for exploring the deeper questions of our lives. The retreat was a success if we were able to find resolve about things in our lives we were anxious about. For evangelicals, this usually looked like getting closer to God so God could speak to us about our tough situations. A good retreat provided us a denouement.
But you don't need a day or two away or to be an evangelical to experience a denouement (though by all means take them if you can!). A denouement can be anything in our day to day lives that brings us a sense of peace and safety, the moments when what matters comes into focus and we can lay our questions down.
I felt this way when I held my children while they slept.
I feel this way in the early morning in my backyard when I can hear the birds and creek.
I feel this way by a fire when it's raining or snowing outside.
I feel this way in flower gardens.
Nature plays a large role in my denouements.
When do you have a denouement? When are you able to let out a deep sigh and lay down the hard questions for a time?
You need them.
Denouement literally means the action of untying. I hope your soul can untie somehow today.
Do you need a good example in literature of a Denouement? Here's three of my suggestions:
If you don't have time for a book, here's a few movie ideas:
What is an example in fiction of a satisfying ending for you? I'd love to know.