Endings and Beginnings

photo credit :nakatorestaurant.com

photo credit :nakatorestaurant.com

Embracing change…for me…is like hugging a cactus.

It’s hard. And painful. To say it’s uncomfortable is an understatement. Change isn’t something I necessarily try to avoid, but I don’t always handle it well.

 

Tomorrow I turn 27…the celebration of another year of life completed and a new year beginning. Which has kinda been the theme of this past year….endings and beginnings. Changes and adjustments. Some thrilling starts and some bitter ends. While not all endings have been bitter, they do bring change, which–as I previously explained–I love.

 

 

Nearly every area of my life has changed in a big way and part of me wants to just pause life and take it all in. Inhale deeply the wonderful things that have happened and exhale the hard stuff. Sift through my learning experiences, embrace my challenges for growth, and shake off the things that were sour. To look around at the countless things I’ve gained while trying hard not to get stuck on the losses.

But there’s no such thing as pausing life; it keeps moving and changing and blazing forward like a freight train. I can’t live solely  in the excitement of my highs this past year, and I certainly cannot sulk in my lows either. Both have come and gone, and I will never have those days again, for better and for worse.

I have learned..and am still learning… what it means to end well.

 

It isn’t easy to have to step down, step aside, or even head for the door… but it happens. It happens in relationships, in jobs, in social groups, in volunteer positions, in family dynamics, and in all sorts of areas of life. The things you thought were for sure– steady and unchanging–suddenly do just the opposite. They shift and alter, sever and even break and you’re left with lots of hard decisions to make.

 

Because change does that.

 

It brings you to a point of no return…refusing to let you go back to the way things were but offering up new opportunities, if you have the courage to embrace them.

 

Opportunities to grow and learn, to say I’m sorry…both when you’ve done something wrong and when you haven’t. To pursue new paths and relationships and start fresh. To learn about yourself and about the people around you. To figure out what you’re good at, what comes naturally, and what you have to work at…or not do at all. Opportunities for rising above.

 

And opportunities to begin.

 

To take a road you haven’t yet been down before. To learn through series of trial and error, until something clicks. To figure things out in a way that’s so incredibly different that it’s exhilarating. To wrap your arms around blessings you’re not even sure you deserve, but are thankful beyond words that they’ve come into your life.

 

Because beginnings are sweet and fun, full of optimism and dreaming. We are seldom skeptical when good things happen, and why would we be? While beginning isn’t always easy, but there is joy for the journey and hope for the unknown.

If you’re experiencing a lot of new beginnings, I bet some endings are headed your way. And let’s be clear: not that ell endings are bad–some are absolutely needed and welcomed and very very good {as previously discussed in Good Goodbyes}.

 

But to think life is only successes and triumphs, beginnings and relationships stacked higher than you can count is just unrealistic.

 

 

Something has to give to make space.

I love the gardening metaphor about pruning and how completely relevant it is to our lives. It’s the perfect picture of why endings are absolutely crucial to beginnings. Because without making space, without cutting back what’s no longer growing, without trimming down what gets in the way, growth and new life would never occur.

 

Easier said than done, right? Trust me, I know this all too well.

 

And maybe the things in your life that were trimmed down or cut back felt totally pointless and painful….and maybe parts of them were. But I promise if you seek to learn from these experiences and step up to the challenge of facing it all, you will find new life after death. I have and I am… time and time again.

 

Give yourself a break when you don’t bounce back right away, and enjoy the times when your happiness is contagious.

 

 

Pray away the anger and the bitterness, the blame and the frustration. Pray thankfulness for blessings and  joys, new life and reasons to celebrate.

 

 

 

Tonight is the night yet another ending meets a beginning, and opportunities are my gifts. Gifts of choosing and of growing. Gifts of self discovery and a chance to try something new. Opportunities to find life after death, the sweet that accompanies the bitter, and the beauty hidden in another year of living that I cannot wait to discover along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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