During my morning meditation, I was reminded once again about the importance of beginnings. New beginnings and old ones renewed. Modest beginnings. Sacrificial beginnings. Unexpected beginnings. A continual series of setting and resetting – course and purpose. I found myself immersed in two separate (but equal) memories this morning. A moment of memorable starts.
The first, a snippet, a memory of a time spent in Bozeman, Montana. A flash of the library and surrounding area. I time that specifically marks a period of beginnings. We had just moved into our new home, and I had started my job as court clerk for the City of Bozeman. I was certain that this was the beginning of a new life for us; a time to fully focus on family and fellowship. And it was, for the briefest of moments, but then life ebbed on.
The second, a subtle viewing of a portrait taken when my son was 3-months old – 21 years ago. This is the quintessential beginning – the moment I was born for. I always wanted to be a Mother. I dreamed of loving a child the way he deserved to be loved. I imagined a life of broken cycles and unconditional love. Dreams cannot prepare you for what it is to raise a child, especially when you yourself were left wantonly deficient. Patterns repeated and broken. Darkness overshadowed by the light of a Mother’s love for her son, and his for her. An all-consuming love, and an unbreakable bond.
If I’m being honest, I wouldn’t trade a single beginning of my life. Regardless of the roads traveled from beginning to end; I am grateful to have had the opportunity to traverse such roads. I’ve never traveled a single road, nor lived through a single season that didn’t teach or guide me in some way. Even the subtlest of seasons, filled with ease and compassion, can teach you something. But here’s the thing, I often lose sight of the wonder of beginnings. Especially, when allowing myself to mourn tragic endings.
Though I’m not the biggest fan of change, I have no problem embracing most endings. I take pride in seeing a task to completion. I seek the foresight to know when and how a situation will end. Often struggling with people and situations who seem to have no direction or purpose – no ending.
Yet, I cannot deny that I dread tragic endings – the end of something good or beautiful. How the darkness of winter engulfs the light of summer. How pain and suffering can bury the soul of the kindhearted. How seasons of peace are replaced by seasons of terror. How the promise of marriage can be replaced by heartache. It’s all so fleeting. “This too shall pass.”
A phrase I’ve heard my entire life, and one I thought I understood. Always believing that what shall pass, was designated to the bad, the dark, the corrupt. Believing good things should not pass.
The truth is, these four words aren’t meant to simply comfort your soul in times of despair; they are meant to be a reminder. A secret code. This too shall pass… It’s all temporary – good and bad. It’s so easy to say when you feel weary and discouraged, but can you say it when life seems right? Good? Can you look at the sunny seasons of life, and accept that these too are temporary?
I’m considering this as I write, and I am dumbfounded by how out of balance we are as a culture, or maybe it’s just me. What I see is a pattern of hiding and evading in the darkest of seasons. We either put our heads down and push through, or we imprison ourselves in the pain. This too shall pass, gives us comfort but also lets us off the hook. It strips us of our responsibility. Yes, we should accept that seasons ebb and flow, and that they will pass, but we must also do our part. Traversing a cold and dark winter with buried heads and blinded eyes, leads straight to nothingness – emptiness.
If we spend too much time missing the point of the dark seasons, I’m guessing we do the same in the light. I think we get so caught up in the joy of certain seasons, we overlook the small moments of importance gifted to us. When things seem good and life feels right, we get distracted by how good we feel, and forget, this too shall pass. It’s in the bliss of ignorance that we find ourselves trapped. When endings to glorious beginnings come bursting into sight, we are often unprepared. Why?
Because we spend our whole lives seeking the beginning of the end. Silently searching for a moment in life when everything lines up. Embracing the idea that the perfect portrait in our head is achievable. Floundering through life, year after year, waiting to be delivered. Wasting precious life while thinking I’ll be happy when. We are meant to be happy now! I refuse to believe that life on Earth was meant to be lived as if we’re all prisoners awaiting our release. As if we were put here to suffer until the bitter end; anxiously awaiting our rewards in Heaven.
No! Life is NOW! Heaven is here!
Life is beginnings and endings; precious moments of guidance and understanding. A series of patterns that will forever ebb and flow. Can you celebrate humble beginnings and perpetual endings? Can you embrace the journey for all it is? Can you except that this too shall pass?
“But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly.
True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going.
I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life.
That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift. I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction.
God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.”
“Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.”
Photo by Pigoff PhotographY